How to avoid scammers while holiday shopping online - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

How to avoid scammers while holiday shopping online

(WWBT) -

It's not just the online shopping season, it's also the online shopping scam season.

Each year, the scammers just keep getting better as studies show fraud attempts increased more than 30 percent last year. 

"I shop online all the time ... would say at least once a day," said Alison Chaltas, an executive and busy wife and mom.

When it comes to shopping, it's all about the click-and-buy.

“I do all of my clothing shopping online, um, all my gift shopping online," said Chaltas.

If you like to shop from your kitchen, it'll come as no shock that people clicked and bought nearly $94 billion worth of goods last holiday.

Experts say scammers also make it their full-time job to catch you off guard.

Sorin Mihailovici, the founder of scam detector, says the trend is for fraudsters to take existing scams and make them harder to detect, such as fake puppy postings or links promising "must-have" items for prices well below market value. And be especially careful of links for too-good-to-be-true deals on social media.

"So, what scammers do, they go on, on social media platforms. They advertise great products that are real products only cheaper and they would send them to their own duplicate sites,” said Mihailovici.

The key tip while shopping: Look at URL and make sure it starts with "https."

"If the duplicate site doesn't have the HTTPS and it only has HTTP, you can rest assured that that's a scam,” said Mihailovici.

Also, look at reviews of a site before buying, but do not depend on testimonials on the site itself.

Chaltas says she does her homework, but only shops online using a credit card, not her bank card.

"I also kind of count on my credit card provider to be an extra level of security," she said. 

Experts also warn that an itunes gift cards scam is popping up again.

If you get an email with a receipt for a gift card you never sent and it gives you a link to cancel, do not click on that.

Also never do any shopping on public wi-fi.

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