“Remember, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.”
That is one piece of advice the FBI Memphis Field Office has for anyone shopping online this holiday season. Cyber criminals have “aggressive and creative ways” to steal money and personal information and shoppers should be wary, FBI officials said Tuesday.
“Scammers use many techniques to fool potential victims, including fraudulent auction sales, reshipping merchandise purchased with a stolen credit card, sale of fraudulent or stolen gift cards through auction sites at discounted prices, and phishing emails advertising brand name merchandise for bargain prices or emails promoting the sale of merchandise that ends up being a counterfeit product,” reads a statement from the FBI’s Memphis Field Office.
Here are some of the FBI’s tips to avoid becoming a victim of cyber fraud:
• Do not respond to unsolicited (spam) email.
• Do not click on links contained within an unsolicited email.
• Be cautious of emails claiming to contain pictures in attached files, as the files may contain viruses. Only open attachments from known senders. Always run a virus scan on attachment before opening.
• Avoid filling out forms contained in email messages that ask for personal information.
• Always compare the link in the email to the web address link you are directed to and determine if they match.
In September, the FBI caught a Nevada man who stole the personally identifiable information of multiple victims from his former employer and used it to open thousands of fraudulent PayPal accounts.
• Log on directly to the official website for the business identified in the email, instead of “linking” to it from an unsolicited email. If the email appears to be from your bank, credit card issuer, or other company you deal with frequently, your statements or official correspondence from the business will provide the proper contact information.
• Contact the actual business that supposedly sent the email to verify that the email is genuine.
• If you are requested to act quickly or there is an emergency, it may be a scam. Fraudsters create a sense of urgency to get you to act impulsively.
• If you receive a request for personal information from a business or financial institution, always look up the main contact information for the requesting company on an independent source (phone book, trusted internet directory, legitimate billing statement, etc.) and use that contact information to verify the legitimacy of the request.
• Remember if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.