Iowa Attorney General Brenna Bird today announced her top five tips for avoiding online shopping scams. Online shopping scams are reportedly the second most common form of fraud in the United States. Americans lost $8.8 billion to fraud in 2022 alone.
“While we’re all taking advantage of the online shopping deals this season, so are the scammers,” said Attorney General Bird. “Online shopping scams are on the rise, and it’s more important than ever that Iowans stay vigilant. To avoid scams, we recommend that Iowans shop local, learn how to recognize the red flags of a scam, and contact our office. We’re here to help.”
1. Be Wary of Too-Good-To-Be-True Deals
If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. Exercise caution with steep discounts and offers from unknown sources. Validate offers directly on official websites to avoid falling for enticing yet potentially deceptive promotions.
2. Protect Your Pocketbook
When making online purchases, use credit cards rather than debit cards, prepaid cards, or wire transfers. Most credit cards provide greater protection by offering safeguards for users to dispute and challenge a fraudulent transaction.
3. Enhance Password Security
Create complex passwords for your accounts and avoid using the same password across multiple sites to enhance security. Using two-factor authentication adds an extra layer of protection.
4. Beware of Phishing Emails
Be cautious of unsolicited emails claiming to be from retailers. Verify their legitimacy by directly visiting the official website instead of clicking on links.
5. Guard Your Banking Information
Avoid making online purchases over public Wi-Fi networks, which may not be secure. Instead, use a trusted, private connection. Regularly monitor your financial statements for any unauthorized transactions and report them immediately.
For more information, visit the Iowa Attorney General’s office’s website here. To report a scam, contact the Consumer Protection Division at 888-777-4590.