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Online scammers target holiday shoppers

Published: Nov. 24, 2021 at 7:15 PM CST
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COLLEGE STATION, Texas (KBTX) - Many people will take advantage of Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals, but experts warn that online safety is key.

Parents and older adults are targets to online scammers, according to Asheesh Agarwal, an American Edge Project advisor and e-commerce expert.

Like many parents, Lauren Falcone has already received her children’s Christmas lists. Her two sons want electronics, while her daughter wants to keep it simple.

“My daughter is into scrunchies and anything purple and all the arts and craft things,” Falcone said.

The mother of three is planning to shop online and in stores.

“All of the local boutiques and things where I especially get things for my daughter and gifts for my friends have all upped their presence online,” Falcone said.

Shopping online from local boutiques makes Falcone feel safe because she fell victim to an online scammer last year.

“They wound up getting my Apple I.D., password, all that kind of stuff,” Falcone said. They’ve gone so far to put in like a reverse camera somehow on the software so they could see inside my computer.”

Scammers are capable of doing much more, according to Agarwal.

“If they’ve got your credit card information, you can expect to see quite a few charges,” Agarwal said. “If they have your social security information, that can be even more damaging.”

Agarwal said researching unfamiliar websites is key. Fake sites may contain irrelevant numbers and letters in the domain name. There may also be grammatical errors and limited contact information.

Shoppers should also be aware of suspicious emails with links.

“If you click on the link and enter your information, scammers will have your personal information so be very careful,” Agarwal said.

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