What Are Some Common Holiday Scams to Know?

woman shopping online

What Online Scams Are the FBI Investigating?

Holiday scams have already been a common threat to consumers, however, COVID-19 is forcing countless Americans to ditch the in-person retail experience for online shopping at home. As a result, the FBI is on high-alert for criminals committing the following schemes.

Online shopping scams: The FBI urges the public to beware of unfamiliar sites offering unrealistic discounts on brand-name merchandise. Ultimately, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is, according to the FBI.

  • Credit card fraud
  • Non-delivery of things that people have paid for
  • Counterfeit items
  • Phishing scams

Charity scams: Donations to individuals and families in need increase during the holidays, as it is the season of giving. The FBI reports that criminals use “phone calls, email campaigns, and fake websites to solicit on behalf of fraudulent charities

Payment risks: The FBI warns of sellers and websites that demand payment through gift cards only or sometimes wire transfers, allowing criminals to receive illegal funds quickly.

A Look at the Numbers

If you’re wondering why the FBI is taking online scams so seriously, it will benefit you to read the data below, which demonstrates how large the monetary losses can be:

  • Non-payment or non-delivery scams cost people more than $196 million in 2019
  • In 2019, credit card fraud cost people $100 million
  • Fraud was the biggest concern for consumers in 2019, as 1.7 million fraud complaints were filed
  • There were nearly 651,000 complaints of identity theft in 2019
  • In 2019, government imposter scams increased by nearly 53% over 2018
    • These scams involve criminals pretending to be employees of the Internal Revenue Service, Social Security Administration, or other agencies and con or threaten people into sending money or personal details such as banking information to them
    • Other imposter scams include romance and tech support fraudsters, and pretending to be a victim’s business associate, relative, or friend
  • 2019 saw a $667 million loss to all imposter scams
  • Overall fraud losses in 2019 exceeded $1.9 billion, a 28% increase from 2018’s losses

Your Freedom Depends on the Lawyer You Choose, So Choose Wisely

With these facts in mind, it comes as no surprise that state and federal law enforcement agencies are directing their efforts and resources to identify and prosecute online scammers and fraudsters, especially during the holidays. At the Law Offices of Evan E. Zelig, P.C., our Santa Rosa internet crimes attorney understands that you may have been falsely accused of fraud or simply ended up in a bad situation, but regardless of how you ended up with these criminal accusations, know that you are not alone.

With over 15 years of experience in criminal law, you can trust that we have the high-caliber legal arsenal required to help you resolve your case as efficiently as possible. Don’t hesitate to contact us at (707) 418-5352 to learn more about how we can build your defense.