HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — While you’re on the hunt for bargains, scammers will be on the hunt for you!
Amy Nofziger is with AARP’s fraud watch network. She says be on the lookout for fake websites, misspellings and poor grammar are huge red flags.
“Another thing we know scammers are going to be doing this year is they’re going to be setting up websites with bargain basement price hot ticket items,” said Nofziger. “These items might be counterfeit, or they might just be a way to get your personal information but if you see an item that is about half of what retail should be, walk away because it’s a scam.”
Experts recommend the use of credit cards in the event of identity theft. “If you’re using a credit card and someone steals your information, by law you could only be accountable for about 50 dollars and most credit card companies won’t even make you pay that 50 dollars.”
Nofziger says debit cards don’t offer the same protections that credit cards do. “If you use a debit card and you don’t report it in a timely fashion you might be held liable for those charges and even if you do report it in a timely fashion. They’re actually using your money out of your bank account. Sometimes those funds are frozen while the bank investigates, unless you have a lot of money in your account those pile up and you need to use that money to pay your bills. That’s why using a credit card is so important.”
Experts also warn of sites that ask you to pay using apps like Cashapp, Venmo, and Zelle.
“Those forms of payment are supposed to be used by family and friends only,” Nofziger said. “That’s why their name is peer to peer, not stranger to stranger. But scammers are taking advantage of this and they’re asking for people to pay that way. These forms of payment are virtually untraceable if people use them so make sure you do not use one of these ‘p2p’ apps when dealing with someone you do not know.”
Most importantly, do your research, so you don’t lose your cash or valuable personal information.
“Anybody can be a target of the scammers, the scammers don’t care how old you are or what your education level is. If you have money they will steal it from you.”
Be wary of text messages or emails that send you links to great deals. That could lead to malware being installed on your computer.
Always go directly to a retailer’s website and if you are the victim of a scam, report it immediately.