How consumers can avoid holiday shopping scams this year

Madison, Wisconsin (WMTV) — The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Commerce, and Consumer Protection (DATCP) encourages those buying gifts this holiday season to look out for scams and offer tips to help identify scams before they happen.

The winter months are the times for receiving and giving gifts, the DATCP said, so those who buy gifts, especially online, should avoid these common scams:

Delivery/shipping notification scams:

According to DATCP, fake shippers may send texts to people alerting them that their shipment may be delayed unless the customer gives up private “verification” information. Customers should be careful of any links to downloads. They should also never open these messages or provide any personal information but call the shipping service’s customer service line with questions instead.

Giveaway scams

People might get text messages saying they’ve won something like a gift card or money. However, DATCP said, scammers will require them to pay a small fee or complete a survey to get data before they can actually get the gift. Never interact with those who give gifts online that have restrictions.

Online market scams

Be wary of those trying to sell merchandise or buy merchandise from social media marketplaces. Officials said scammers may pretend to overpay with fraudulent checks to get the money back.

Pet tricks

Although pets are popular gifts for the holidays, buyers should be careful when shopping online. DATCP said scammers will post one pet but say it has been sold and offer an away option. To avoid any scams while shopping for a furry friend, ask for the name and location of the pet’s vet.

Ticket scams

Scammers may attempt to trick consumers into buying tickets sold on unofficial sales websites or third party websites. To avoid this shop only authorized ticket sellers with clear policies.

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