PIKESVILLE, MD—The Maryland State Police Cyber Task Force is warning consumers to continue to proceed with caution while shopping online to avoid potential scams this holiday season.
According to the Internet Crime Complaint Center’s (IC3) 2021 report, non-payment or non-delivery scams cost people more than $337 million annually. Credit card fraud accounted for another $173 million in losses. Consumers can take simple steps to avoid becoming a victim of an online scam.
- Never click any questionable links or attachments in emails, on websites, or on social media.
- Only purchase items from reputable businesses and people you know and trust.
- Make sure any website you visit is legitimate and secure. A site you’re buying from should have https in the web address. If it doesn’t, don’t enter your information on that site.
- Never wire money directly to a seller.
- Use a credit card, not a prepaid gift card, when shopping online.
- Check your credit card/bank statement regularly. Dispute any suspicious charges.
Here are some tips to protect yourself from scams in general:
- Do not give out your personal information to someone you do not know.
- Store personal information in a safe place.
- Do not carry your social security card in your wallet.
- Collect mail every day and put a hold on it during extended travel.
- Use security features on your smartphone and computer.
- Use complex passwords.
- Trust your instincts. If you think it might be a scam, it probably is one.
Do not wait to report any potential scam. Contact your banking institutions immediately. Also contact your local law enforcement agency and file a complaint on https://www.IC3.gov.
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