SEATTLE — As holiday shopping hits its peak, some people are getting fishy texts that have the FBI concerned.
The text looks like a message to review a package or shipment from UPS with a link, but it is actually a phishing scam.
“Scammers don't take holidays off from swindling unsuspecting shoppers,” said Steven M. D’Antuono, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI Washington Field Office. “There are a variety of ways that fraudsters try to scam you during the holiday season, including through online shopping scams.”
Another scam to watch out for involves gift cards you can buy at the store. Scammers are scratching or peeling off the back of the gift card where the PIN is, writing it down, then coving the PIN up again and putting the gift cards back on the shelf.
Once the scammers see that the card is activated, they have all the information to spend the money and the person who was given the card is out of luck.
"You just sort of have to be mindful when you're buying gift cards now,” said FBI Supervisory Special Agent Ethan Via. “Look at the packaging, inspect it, make sure you don't see any evidence of the sticker being scratched off, or if it's real wrinkled, or damaged around the corners.”
Via said a good tip is to not take the gift cards from the front of the stack and pick one from the middle or in the back. Another piece of advice, Via said, is to look for gift cards that are hanging closer to employees at the store who might be more mindful of any suspicious activity near the gift card section.
One way to avoid this type of scam is to buy a gift card or order a product directly from the retailer.
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