LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Scammers are looking to score big since people are turning more to online shopping. The COVID-19 lockdown closed stores and pushed people online for shopping and business and scammers took note.

What You Need To Know

  • Scamming rates increase as online shopping increases

  • FBI reports tripled, sometimes quadrupled number of scamming complaints

  • Consumers can follow tips to shop safely online

“Instances of scams have gone way up. FBI recently came out and said that on their internet crime complaint center site, they’ve seen 4 times the amount of fraud reports they normally get,” said Dave Hatter, a cybersecurity consultant with InTrust IT.

The FBI Deputy Assistant Director said that the IC3 has been busy the last few months. Typically the online portals will receive 1,000 complaints a day. The organization is now receiving something like 3,000 to 4,000 complaints a day.

The FTC recently warned that cyber criminals are setting up websites to sell bogus products while using fake emails, texts and social media posts as a ruse to take your money and get your personal information. 

“If you get an offer for anything that seems too good to be true, it probably is,” said Hatter. “You need to be extremely careful, bad guys are very devious and crafty and change their tactics during the pandemic because they know more people are doing more things online.”

Here are some tips to avoid falling victim to these scams:

  • Be extremely skeptical and cautious of any emails, text, or social media postings about coronavirus;
  • Shop at well known, reputable sites;
  • Look for https:// in the URL of any e-commerce site;
  • Use a credit card if possible and check statements regularly;
  • If a deal seems to be good to be true, it most likely is;
  • If buying from an individual, don’t send money upfront; and
  • Report fraud to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center.