Holiday shopping, like most shopping these days, has moved online, and that poses unique risks, according to a new AARP survey. More than 75% of U.S. consumers reported that they had experienced some kind of fraud, and a similar share of consumers failed a 9-question safe shopping quiz.
The AARP holiday scams survey also identified three specific threat areas.
|Online Shopping Scams — Over 1/3 of consumers have experienced fraud when shopping online.|
|•||Scammers set up professional looking websites offering popular items at a deep discount. When consumers purchase these supposed deals, they find out that either nothing arrives or the product that is delivered is not what was advertised.|
|•||Be suspicious of any online offer that offers a deep discount over what other retailers offer. Do your online shopping with trusted retailers.|
|Porch Pirates — 1 out of 4 people have had a package stolen from their porch.|
|•||Porch pirates are criminals who look for the opportunity to steal packages from people’s front steps — they are out in force over the busy holiday season.|
|•||Rather than have packages delivered to your front door, check with the shipper and find out if packages can be held at their location or if they offer drop box options. You could also direct the carrier to place your packages in a specific location that would be hard to see from the road.|
|Gift Card Graft — 1 out of 4 people have given or received a gift card with a zero balance.|
|•||Criminals manipulate cards on store racks or use electronic means to scan for activated gift cards online and drain the value off the cards.|
|•||Consider purchasing gift cards directly from the retailer online, and register it if that’s an option. Use the card sooner than later to avoid the card being found by criminals and drained.|
More from the AARP Fraud Watch Network
• Learn more about Holiday Scams
• Learn how to prevent Online Scams
• Contact the AARP Fraud Watch Network Helpline at 877-908-3360 if you think scammers have targeted you or you think you are a victim of fraud.
Support for Fraud Victims
The AARP Fraud Watch Network offers AARP VOA ReST, a free program that provides emotional support for people affected by fraud. ReST sessions are online, an hour-long, in confidential small groups, and led by trained peer facilitators. Experiencing a scam can be devastating, but it doesn't have to define you. Interested? Visit www.aarp.org/fraudsupport to learn more.
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