– APD Fraud and Cyber Crimes would like to remind citizens to be aware of three common online scams that seem to increase during the holiday season.
1. We commonly see many online scams where a text is sent to a phone to “check a status update” on Facebook or notify you of a package you ordered that was delayed from Amazon, USPS, FedEx, etc. The text is followed with a link to log into the seemingly legitimate business where you are then required to enter in your login information.
Clicking on the link does not usually do any harm, it is when you enter your login information that your online security is breached. Always back out of the app and use the official website to enter your login information.
2. We are seeing an increase in reports of online scams in the area of online marketplaces. People commonly offer a service such as pictures with Santa, selling clothing and craft items or offering labor/services. The scammer will usually ask you to use a specific app to pay them upfront. Your best defense against this is asking questions. If in their response they are not upfront or seem to be withholding information they are probably not legitimate. Remember, a legitimate business entrepreneur will try to get the information you are asking for because they want you as a customer.
A common question we get is which paying service is appropriate to use. Paypal is usually a safe bet but using the ‘Paypal Friends and Family’ option to pay the person will not allow you to be compensated for your loss by PayPal. Before you use an app, read the terms and conditions on providing compensation for scams. Apps like Cash App specifically say in their FAQ section on their website to never send money to someone you do not know and that most of the time money cannot be repaid back if you are scammed.
3. Lastly, we commonly see scams involving prizes or sweepstakes where if you send them money/gift cards/money wires you will be compensated double the amount or more. Usually the person asks the victim to go to the store to purchase apple or google gift cards as payment for the winnings. They then ask you to send them the numbers on the card for verification. You should never have to pay money to get money.
Remember, if it sounds too good to be true it probably is.
Public Information Coordinator