Florida officials are wary of scammers when you shop online


BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) – Online shopping is a great way to find discounts and deals, but you can also become a victim of scams if you’re not careful.

The summer sale is a popular way for online retailers to attract customers and promote seasonal items, but Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody warns scammers also take advantage of shoppers.

“Scammers know this and can take advantage of these shopping events by posing as representatives of major retailers to steal money or personal information from unsuspecting consumers,” Moody said in a press release.

With Amazon Prime Day falling on July 12-13, people will be looking for deals and discounts, but Bay County Sheriff’s Office officials said they are also dealing with victims of online theft.

“One of the most important things we deal with in our financial crime unit is online financial crime and fraud,” said BCSO investigator Corporal Aubrey Chance.

Chance said online theft comes in a variety of forms. These include scam texts, emails, and fake websites. However, if you check website URL, email address and don’t click links in text messages, you can avoid becoming a victim.

Sometimes scammers will send you an email claiming they are from a site like Amazon. The email will say things like “We need to refund your purchase” and will ask you to click the link that will take you to the website. Chance said in this case, go directly to the site yourself and don’t click any links.

Below are four tactics used by Attorney General Moody’s office to target scammers.

Copycat websites that look dangerously similar or even identical to the website of the legitimate business. Pay close attention to the website URL.

Fake emails with security warnings Claiming that a target’s online account is compromised often prompts users to verify billing names, addresses, and phone numbers. These messages can be linked to malware or used to steal information. Verify the legitimacy of the message by calling the company and asking for the email.

Fake order confirmations and package delivery updates use the same fake email concept as the security alert scam, except they target different steps in the checkout process, making the whole scam seem more realistic.

Fake phone calls can look like they came from a legitimate company number. These phone calls may offer prize draws, warn of security issues, ask the recipient to take a survey, or use other tactics. Most companies will not call and try to convince a customer to pay over the phone, ask for a customer’s personal information, or offer an unexpected refund. In this case, hang up immediately.

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