MILWAUKEE - 'Tis the season for scams? In the midst of the pandemic, online shopping fraud claims are on the rise. Local financial advisory Brad Allen from Drake & Associates joins FOX6 WakeUp to explain how you can protect your money while purchasing presents.
Q: WHAT SCAMS ARE BEING USED TO STEAL PEOPLE’S MONEY ONLINE?
Fake Ads on Social Media
• Scammers are placing fake ads for products in high demand on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. People are then redirected to a website where they can purchase the item. Many people don't realize it's a scam until they don't receive the item they ordered.
• Fraudsters are also impersonating Amazon employees over the phone. A recorded voice will tell you there’s a suspicious charge on your Amazon Prime Card or tell you a package of yours has been lost or stolen.
Q: WHO ARE THESE SCAMMERS TARGETING?
• We are all at risk, but those who lose the most money in these scams are older adults.
• Older victims tend to be more isolated or could be suffering from conditions like dementia, making them more vulnerable.
• Those who are close to retirement or retired cannot afford to fall for these scams. They are usually on a fixed income, and the money they lose may not be able to be replaced.
• I have more information on my retirement planning process on our website, wealthwisconsin.com
Q: HOW CAN WE PROTECT OURSELVES FROM CORONAVIRUS SCAMS?
DO YOUR RESEARCH
• Check online reviews of the website so you can learn from other shopper's experiences.
• Look over these offers twice to spot any discrepancies, including misspellings or a fake business name.
• If you come across a deal online that seems too good to be true, it probably is!
• Avoid making purchases from social media sites like Facebook and Instagram. Only make purchases from online sites you know and trust.
EXAMINE THE WEBSITE
• Ensure the website you are making a purchase on is safe and legitimate.
• One way to do this is to look for “https” in the URL. That “s” stands for secure. If the website only has “http” in it, stay away! That means it is not secure and you shouldn’t enter any payment or personal information.
• Document the purchases you’re making this holiday season, including how much you’re spending and the store you’re buying from.
• I tell my clients to be extra cautious and to review their bank and credit statements at least weekly, if not daily, this time of year. Check the charges with the receipts you’ve documented. If you notice a problem, report it to your bank or credit card company right away.
• You can also sign up for credit monitoring so you will be alerted if someone opens or attempts to open a new line of credit in your name.