#FraudFriday: Don’t be too quick to click this holiday season!

With holiday shopping underway and dwindling brick and mortar retail stores, the easiest form of shopping is from the comfort of your couch. Amazon, eBay, Walmart, and other online giants are very popular. So it's no surprise that scammers, fraudsters and identity thieves have mimicked these platforms to target innocent victims. 

Through many methods, swindlers trick online shoppers into thinking they are going to their favorite shopping websites. 

Some things you should lookout for : 

• Unsolicited emails that appear to come from legitimate retailers - once a shopper clicks on a link the shopper is directed to a fake site where they unknowingly enter credit info. 

• Phishing scams and banner ads lure buyers in with fake product ads that sound too good to be true, without delivering the products that were promised and emptying your account. 

• “Free Gift Card” offers that convince a shopper to submit personal information with the promise of a free gift card which is never delivered. 

The good news is there are ways to protect yourself against cons using the appearance of online shopping websites. All it takes is some common knowledge of the internet, and what dead giveaways to look for: 

· Misspelling of words in the ads, bad grammar, or deals “too good to be true” 
· The URL link you clicked-on doesn’t match the expected online retailer. 
· Make sure the site you are entering personal info is secure, and has “https” in the URL line, and the padlock symbol. 
• Update your browser and install antivirus software to help spot these scams. 
• Use common sense, if it sounds too good to be true-it probably is! 

Overall, online shoppers have a pleasant shopping experience. Just avoid the potentially fraudulent scenarios listed above, and keep your personal data, and your money, safe and out of reach from fraud artists.