‘Tis the Season for Stealing the Deals
Over the years, online shopping grew in popularity during the holidays,
but COVID-19 has forced many more people to shop from home due to safety
restrictions and retail store closures. As a result, online shopping scams
have become a top concern for both state and federal law enforcement agencies,
including the FBI. In 2019, the
National Retail Federation reported that theft, fraud, and other losses from other retail shrink
totaled $61.7 billion, exemplifying why the FBI and other agencies are
on high alert for such crimes during this year especially.
With these facts in mind, our
Fort Worth fraud crime lawyer is preparing for an increase in criminal accusations this holiday season.
We encourage you to read about the most
common holiday scams investigated by the FBI below to better understand these illicit acts and avoid committing them:
Online Shopping Scams
- Phishing emails and advertisements offer unrealistic deals and discounts
on brand-name merchandise.
- Phishing emails and advertisements mislead shoppers into buying heavily
discounted products that, in reality, aren’t the same products that
were advertised to them in the first place.
- Unreliable websites or advertisements offer extremely discounted items
or special coupons for products that don’t end up shipping to the
buyer. Instead, the buyer’s personal information and credit card
details get stolen.
Social Media Shopping Scams
- Many “companies” on platforms like Facebook and Instagram offer
promotions, contests, gift cards, or vouchers to people who take an online
“survey,” which is designed to steal their personal information.
- An increasing amount of social media users report getting hacked after
clicking on a “claim your prize”-type link that, instead,
installs malware on their computers or mobile devices.
- Countless scammers create fake social media profiles using phony profile
pictures and personal information to build a trusting relationship with
victims. From there, they manipulate victims by asking them for money,
sending them links installed with malware, or sharing links to fake websites
in the hopes that victims will make a fake purchase using their credit
card and personal information
- Fake job listings are becoming more common during COVID-19. Many listings
offer high compensation for little effort in return.
- “Employers” move and hide illicit funds obtained from victims
through transfers, physical movement, and more.
- Victims essentially act as “money mules,” being told to receive
funds in their personal bank accounts, open a bank account in their name
for a specific business, and keep a portion of the money they transfer.
Acting as a money mule is illegal, but victims may not realize they are
being money mules until it’s too late.
Gift Card Scams
Scammers call, email, or text victims asking them to purchase multiple
gift cards for personal or business reasons. Victims may get additional
requests for wire transfer payments.
- For example, a victim may receive an email asking them to purchase gift
cards for a work-related event. If they do, those gift cards will be used
to purchase goods and services that may or may not be legitimate.
- Scammers establish fake charities to profit from victims who think they
are donating to legitimate charities.
- Charity scams may occur through cold calls, email campaigns, crowdfunding
platforms, or fake social media accounts or websites. These types of scams
are common during crises and the holidays.
- Fraudsters use stolen credit cards to buy pricey items online and have
those items sent to a “reshipper location” rather than their
billing address. The items are then repackaged and usually sold overseas
to be sold on the black market.
- Victims can unknowingly and unintentionally act as money mules by accepting
the deliveries, becoming the “reshipper.”
Don’t Handle Your Fraud Charges Alone
Arrested? Our firm has the resources, experience, and defense strategies
needed to help overcome your fraud charges, and will go the distance to
minimize the impacts of your case. We understand that you may have been
wrongfully accused or mistakenly identified, or simply made a mistake
that you strongly regret. Whatever the situation may be, know that your
case may be defendable.
To us, you are innocent until proven guilty, therefore you will be treated
with the respect, attention, and priority you deserve. Get started on
your case by contacting Jerry Loftin & Associates
online or at (817) 429-2000.