FBI Albuquerque Division Warns of On-line Trip Fraud

ALBUQUERQUE, NM (KRQE) – The Albuquerque FBI Department warns locals of online shopping scams as the holidays approaches. The FBI says New Mexicans lost nearly $ 31 million to online fraud in the past year. They also say that the two most common types of vacation scams are non-delivery and non-payment crimes.

“The holidays are a busy time for buyers and unfortunately also for thieves,” said special agent Raul Bujanda in a press release. “Many problems could probably be avoided if people remembered one important rule: If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.”

According to a press release by the FBI, a nondelivery scam, a buyer pays for goods or services they find online, but those items are never received. Conversely, non-payment fraud involves shipping goods or services but never getting paid to the seller.

According to the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center’s 2020 report, non-payment or non-delivery scams cost new Mexicans about $ 700,000 last year. The FBI also says watch out for auction scams, where a product is misrepresented on an auction page, and gift card scams when a seller asks you to pay with a prepaid card.

The FBI offers the following tips if you think you may have been a victim of a scam:

  • Call your credit card company or bank; deny suspicious allegations.
  • Contact your local law enforcement agency.
  • Immediately report the scam at ic3.gov.

The FBI also offers the following tips for avoiding vacation fraud:

  • Practice good cybersecurity hygiene.
  • Don’t click any suspicious links or attachments in email, on websites, or on social media.
  • Phishing scams and similar crimes involve clicking links and revealing personal information such as your name, password and bank account number. In some cases, you can unknowingly download malware onto your device.
  • Be especially careful if a company asks you to update your password or account information. Find the company’s phone number yourself and give the company a call.
  • Know who you are buying from or who you are selling to.
  • Check the URL of each website to make sure it is legit and safe. A website that you shop from should have https in the web address. If not, please do not enter your information on this website.
  • If this is your first time shopping with a company, do your research and check reviews.
  • Verify the legitimacy of a buyer or seller before proceeding with a purchase. If you use an online marketplace or auction website, check out their feedback rating. Be wary of buyers and sellers with mostly poor reviews or no reviews at all.
  • Avoid sellers acting as authorized dealers or factory representatives of popular items in countries that do not have such offers.
  • Be wary of sellers posting an auction or ad as if they lived in the United States, and then respond to questions by indicating that they are out of the country for business, family emergencies, or similar reasons.
  • Avoid shoppers wishing to ship their purchase using one method and avoiding customs or taxes in another country.
  • Be careful how you pay.
  • Never send money directly to a seller.
  • Avoid paying for items with prepaid gift cards. These scams involve a seller asking you to send them a gift card number and PIN. Instead of using this gift card to make your payment, the scammer will steal the money and you will never receive your item.
  • Use a credit card when shopping online and check your bank statement regularly. If you see a suspicious transaction, contact your credit card company to dispute the charge.
  • Monitor the shipping process.
  • Always receive tracking numbers for items you buy online so you can make sure they have been shipped and keep track of the delivery process.
  • Be suspicious of credit card purchases where the cardholder’s address at the time of sale does not match the shipping address. Always obtain authorization from the cardholder before shipping any products.

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