Beware of online scams during holidays

The holidays are here, which means getting together with relatives and friends, attending special celebrations, buying gifts and just getting in a festive mood.

What will kill a festive mood, though, is becoming a victim of a consumer scam.

With the rise in purchasing items in person or online, people who could use their talents in better ways try to cheat people out of their hard-earned holiday bucks.

Through mid-December, the website of Attorney General Dana Nessel, located at www.michigan.gov/ag/consumer-protection/20-days-of-scams, will focus on educating consumers on the numerous scams and tactics used to take away their money.

The package delivery text scam, for example, is one of those scams.

The increase in online shopping and home deliveries has provided opportunities for criminals to masquerade as delivery companies. If you are not expecting a home delivery or are unsure if an individual has sent a package to you, do not click the link. Clicking the link could take you to a fake site where you will be asked to enter more details to prove their identity or pay a non-existent fee. Clicking the link could also download malware to your device.

Instead, log in directly to the account where you placed the order to get tracking information.

If you believe someone has sent package to you, wait for the item to arrive. If there is a problem with that delivery, the company will contact the person who sent the package directly.  

Nessel’s office has plenty of other tips to consider this holiday season. They include researching a retailer when purchasing goods from a website since some people fabricate businesses just to get credit card information and other details.

Also, try to pay with a credit card since they provide protections that allow users to dispute charges if an item is not delivered or is not as advertised.

People should not have to worry about online criminal activity during the holidays, but it is a sad and frustrating fact of life. Unfortunately, this type of activity takes place all year, but holiday shopping brings out the greed in many people.

We urge people to exercise caution when shopping online during the holidays, and hope they don’t fall prey to scams. It’s better that their money goes to their loved ones instead of people who try to take advantage of their generosity.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper *

Starting at $4.62/week.

Subscribe Today