With more people expected to their holiday shopping online this year due to coronavirus, the Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office is warning people to watch out for scams and fraud.
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Prosecutor Mat Heck Jr. offered the following tips for safe shopping:
- Buy from reputable and familiar retailers. Phishing ads are all over the Internet with deals that are often too good to be true. Consumers clicking on those ads are typically asked to provide personal and payment information that is then used for identity fraud and theft. Shop retailers with websites that have a secure connection or encryption. The web address so should begin with “https” instead of “http”.
- Don’t click on pop-up ads. Clicking on the ads can download malware onto devices that steal personal information.
- Research sellers when shopping on resale website or social media trading pages. Look the the reviews for sellers and pay attention to complaints. Avoid buying from sellers who don’t have a positive sales history.
- Avoid unsolicited email promotions. Unsolicited promotions asking you to purchase an item is most likely a scam.
- Use your credit card instead of a debit card. Money isn’t taken directly from your account when you use a credit card. Monitor your statement regularly to check for fraudulent purchases and contest them. Though a gift card isn’t connected to personal banking accounts, racking gift card purchases are more difficult.
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Anyone who thinks they’ve been scammed should call the Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Consumer Fraud Unit at 937-225-5757 and ask for the fraud division.