Dealing With Crime -  Avoid gift card fraud (683 views) Notify me whenever anyone posts in this discussion.Subscribe
From: EdGlaze DelphiPlus Member Icon Posted by host12/24/12 4:12 AM 
To: All  (1 of 9) 

Holiday Shoppers Should Be
Wary of Gift Card Fraud

by Lisa Alcalay Klug | Yahoo! Finance
Dec 21, 2012

Holiday shopping latecomers generally spring into action as Dec. 25 gets closer and closer. But, this year, shoppers are not necessarily roaming the malls to scoop up perfume, slippers, sweaters and other last-minute presents. Instead, growing numbers of consumers are purchasing what the National Retail Federation considers the “hottest gift” of all: gift cards.

Gift card and gift certificate purchases grew only slightly from 29.9% in 2010 to 31.4% in 2011, according to the NRF. But the numbers jumped to 39.2% of more than 8,000 NRF respondents polled earlier this month. That figure translates into every four in 10 consumers purchasing gift cards as presents.

But as America’s reliance on gift cards continues to climb, the risk of fraud does, too. Experts say it is a real issue that retailers are actively combating.

Holiday Gift Guides: Stocking Stuffers Under $25

High-volume gift card sellers, such as Apple, Amazon and Macy's, are known to “deploy reliable state-of-the-art fraud detection systems," according to Avivah Litan, senior fraud analyst at Gartner Research. “They have no choice,” Litan said. “The fraudsters would eat their lunch, and they would lose a lot of money. They wouldn't be able to sell them otherwise.”

Consumers, too, can take simple precautions to avoid losing out. There are two common scams they should know about, Litan said. The first is when thieves use stolen credit card numbers to purchase gift cards. Unlike a credit card, gift card magnetic strips don’t contain information about an individual's identity, which makes them virtually untraceable until they're registered.

Scammers also take digital photos of serial numbers on blank gift cards sold in stores. Then, after a major holiday, like Christmas, scammers use these numbers to purchase items, using up the “electronic cash” before a rightful recipient has a chance to enjoy their gift.

6 Easy New Habits To Start Before The New Year

Consumers can easily avoid such mishaps with a few easy steps.

The Federal Trade Commission recommends buying gift cards from the original retailer. Avoid purchases from any third party on Craigslist, eBay, online auctions or a live scalper hawking cards at a flea market or outside a physical retail store. “If Apple or another retailer knows these gift cards were purchased fraudulently, they could deactivate those cards,” Litan said.

When purchasing gift cards in bulk at Costco, Target or other mass merchants, examine the packaging closely. Check to make sure the cards haven’t been tampered with and that no PIN numbers are exposed (it’s a sign that scammers may have scratched off the package’s protective coating). “Even better,” Litan said, “go for the back of the stack.”

If you’re on the receiving end of a gift card this holiday, immediately register it online and hold on to the receipt. A printed receipt is no longer gauche to give or receive. Receipts can confirm the value of the gift card as well as its date of issuance and date of expiration. The NRF reported that 62% of holiday shoppers include a gift receipt "some or most of the time" to verify a purchase and facilitate returns.

Receipts also prevent loss when magnetic strips fail. Be sure to continue to request receipts when making incremental purchases and maintaining a gift card balance.

The Holiday Home Stretch: 5 Tips to Keep it Stress Free

Above all, if you’re the recipient of a gift card, use it quickly. Gift cards are easy to forget about so be sure to use them as soon as possible. “Sometimes balances expire, so if you haven’t used it, you lose it,” Litan said. And until you do, treat gift cards like cash and store them in a safe place.

To file a complaint or get free information relating to gift cards and other consumer issues, visit

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From: EdGlaze DelphiPlus Member Icon Posted by host12/24/12 5:15 AM 
To: All  (2 of 9) 
 1155.2 in reply to 1155.1 

6 Tips to Avoid Gift Card Scams  
Linda Doell | Money Talks News
Dec 21, 2012

A gift card may seem like the perfect gift, especially in these last hectic days of holiday shopping. But if you’re not careful, your recipient could be left with a worthless present, and you could be left with egg on your face.

The FBI recently warned shoppers to be wary of scams when buying gift cards through auctions or classified ads.

According to the National Retail Federation, almost 60 percent of those surveyed by the industry group said they wanted gift cards as presents this year. The NRF estimates Santa’s helpers will spend a whopping $28.79 billion this holiday season fulfilling gift-card wishes.

“Retailers are pulling out all the stops this year to make their gift cards personal, convenient and desirable,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay in a statement. But make sure you don’t fall for a gift card deal that’s too good to be true. Read on for tips to avoid popular scams:

1. Be wary of steep discounts

When shopping for gift cards online, be cautious of cards listed well below retail prices — especially if you’re perusing online auction sites or classified ads. There’s a good chance those cards were bought with a stolen credit card and could be deactivated by the time you get them — if the seller bothers to send the cards at all.

The FBI recommends you check the seller’s ratings on the auction site or with the Better Business Bureau before purchasing.

2. Look for buyer protection policies

Online resellers like and allow sellers to list used or new gift cards, and offer buyer protection policies guaranteeing cards are worth what the seller claims.

“If shoppers are concerned about buying used gift cards, they should purchase them from gift card resellers that offer a purchase guarantee,” said Gift Card Granny’s Kendal Perez in an email interview. “This protects consumers from buying cards that do not have the advertised value or do not work at the store for which they purchased it.”

Gift Card Granny works as a search engine for gift cards, listing available cards and discounts — up to 80% off, with an average discount of about 9%.

Plastic Jungle buys unwanted gift cards and resells them, backing their value with a promise of fines and legal action against any seller who tries to pass off depleted cards.

3. Stick to major retailers

If you’re stumped on which gift card to buy, a good rule of thumb is to stick to major retailers like Walmart, Perez said. Gift Card Granny recently released survey results showing cards from Walmart, Target, and were the most popular cards on its site.

4. Make sure the retailer is financially sound

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission also suggests looking at the retailer’s financial status before buying.

If the retailer files for bankruptcy or goes out of business, the card might not be honored or may be worth less than its face value. In some cases, cards from bankrupt stores can be redeemed at a later date or honored at a competitor’s store. But the best way to avoid issues is to avoid stores on shaky financial footing. When in doubt, do an online search for news.

5. Never pick the first card off the top

When buying gift cards from store racks, never pick the card on top. That’s because someone could have written down its numbers, said John Ulzheimer, president of consumer education at

A thief knows that during the holidays, a card will be bought in advance, but not given until Christmas. After copying the card’s numbers, they’ll call the company, see if the card is active, then use it online, Ulzheimer warned on

6. Inspect the gift card and read the fine print

The Better Business Bureau recommends:

  • Buying from trusted businesses and staying away from online auctions because of counterfeits.
  • Checking the fine print to learn about any fees associated with the card.
  • If buying from a store rack, checking to see if security stickers were removed or peeled back, and checking the back of the card to make sure the surface wasn’t scratched to reveal the PIN code.
  • Including the card’s receipt so the recipient can verify it was paid for should the card be lost or stolen.



From: EdGlaze DelphiPlus Member Icon Posted by host12/24/12 5:33 AM 
To: All  (3 of 9) 
 1155.3 in reply to 1155.2 

Best Sites for Buying Discounted Gift Cards 
by Karla Bowsher
Oct 29, 2012

Half of Americans say they’ve already planned out their holiday shopping and even set aside the money for this year’s gifts — and it’s no small chunk of change, according to a recent study.

The Accenture Holiday Shopping Survey found that we expect to spend an average of $582 on holiday shopping this season. More than 20% of us plan to exceed $750. But what if you could get extra mileage out of your $582, or your $750? On top of what Black Friday and the usual holiday sales could save you?

Discount gift cards can do just that — for savings of up to 35% on top of sales, coupons, and other discounts. The only hitch is that you have to plan ahead: You need to figure out what gifts you’ll buy where and then start ordering gift cards for those stores now so they arrive before Black Friday and the height of the holiday shopping season.

But first determine which discount gift card website to buy from: Inventories constantly change, so you’ll want to check each website’s prices before each gift card purchase. Or use Gift Card Granny, which searches the prices of multiple websites at once.

You’ll also want to mind the fine print, but we’ve taken care of that step for you by comparing some of the most popular websites that sell discounted gift cards…

1. ABC Gift Cards

Stated savings: Up to 35%

Brands/stores available: Not specified.

Shipping: Free.

Sales tax: Not specified.

Fees and expiration dates: Not specified.

Guarantee: “We extensively verify and validate every card we sell. If a card turns out to be a fraudulent card or if there is a balance discrepancy we will either replace the card or refund the purchase if a customer contacts us during our 45 Day Buyer Protection Period.” Guarantee details: Valid for up to 45 days from the date of purchase. (See the “Goods Not As Described 45 Day Return Policy” section of their Terms & Conditions for more details.)

Return policy: They have a strict no-return policy unless the balance on the card you received didn’t reflect what you purchased, so you’re otherwise stuck with your purchase.

2. Cardpool

Stated savings: Up to 35%

Brands/stores available: Not specified, but they carry physical and electronic gift cards. If they’re out of what you’re looking for, you can add it to your “Wishlist” and they’ll let you know when they get it back in stock.

Shipping: Free.

Sales tax: None.

Fees and expiration dates: “We exclusively carry hassle-free gift cards that have no fees and no expiration.”

Guarantee: “If you purchase any gift card from Cardpool, we guarantee it will be valid at the merchant and to the dollar amount specified on your order.” Guarantee details: Valid for up to 100 days from the date of your purchase; covers up to $1,000 per customer. (See the “Purchase Guarantee” section of their Terms of Use for more details.)

Return policy: According to their guarantee, “If you are not satisfied with your Cardpool purchase for any reason, you may return your unused gift card for a full refund.” But the fine print says their return policy doesn’t apply to electronic gift cards, so you’re stuck with those. And the Terms of Use state that you can only return gift cards that are in the exact same condition (and value) you received them in.


From: EdGlaze DelphiPlus Member Icon Posted by host12/24/12 5:33 AM 
To: All  (4 of 9) 
 1155.4 in reply to 1155.3 


Stated savings: Up to 30%

Brands/stores available: More than 250.

Shipping: Free. (But whether you choose free or expedited shipping, note that you must contact them immediately if you don’t receive your purchase within 10 days because they won’t investigate or refund claims after 10 days.)

Sales tax: Not specified.

Fees and expiration dates: Not specified.

Guarantee: “We will give you a full refund if: The gift card you received is not the card you purchased, or the value on the gift card you received is different from what was advertised or indicated at checkout.” Guarantee details: Valid for up to 60 days from the date of purchase. (See the “Guarantee and Return Policy” section of their Terms & Conditions for more details.)

Return policy: They will not accept returns whatsoever after 60 days. And if the reason for your return is not covered by their guarantee, you’ll be charged a 10% restocking fee.

4. Plastic Jungle

Stated savings: Up to 35%

Brands/stores available: More than 400, including physical and electronic gift cards (which they call “eCODES”). If they’re out of what you’re looking for, you can sign up for notifications, and they’ll let you know when they get it back in stock.

Shipping: Standard is free (5 to 7 days); priority (3 to 5 days) and express (1 to 3 days) will cost you.

Sales tax: Not specified.

Fees and expiration dates: “Gift cards on Plastic Jungle have no additional fees or expiration dates.”

Guarantee: “When you purchase any gift card from Plastic Jungle, we guarantee you will receive the gift card(s) within 3 weeks from the date of purchase, and the gift card(s) will be valid at the retailer for the dollar amount specified on your order.” Guarantee details: Valid for up to 60 days from the date of purchase; covers up to $1,000 per customer. (See the “Buyer Guarantee” section of their Terms of Use for more details.)

Return policy: All sales are final, so unless your purchase failed to live up to their guarantee, you’re stuck with it.


From: EdGlaze DelphiPlus Member Icon Posted by host11/16/14 8:30 AM 
To: All  (5 of 9) 
 1155.5 in reply to 1155.4 

Gift Cards—’Tis the Season
by Patrick Shay, NSSF Director, Retail Development
November 13, 2014

With the winter holidays approaching at a rapid pace, gift buying is about to be in full swing. Traffic for nearly every retailer across the country will pick up exponentially. That certainly includes you, the firearms retailer, but you have some disadvantages in maximizing the cash flow this season brings compared to more mainstream businesses like clothing and toy retailers.

For one, stores like Macy’s, Toy’s-R-Us and Wal-Mart have immense brand recognition. They also have advertising budgets you don’t have. But that doesn’t mean you should be left out of the gift-buying frenzy that’s about to begin. Your task: Reach the non-firearms consumer and provide them a way to shop with you instead of the big-box home improvement or fashion store. How? Gift cards.

Gift cards solve a lot of issues for a lot of people, but especially for people who are not “gun people.” Let’s say one of your regular customers, Bill, is an enthusiastic 3-Gun competitor in his late 20s. His family likely knows about his hobby, but they’re not recreational shooters themselves, so a trip to a gun store can be a little intimidating and bewildering for them because they really don’t know what Bill wants or needs to compete or they are generally unfamiliar with firearms and their accessories. Think a gift card would be a great idea? You bet it would.

Really, the scenarios appropriate for gift cards are nearly limitless. That should tell you that these can be much more than just another item you sell.

Too many stores put up only a simple tent card at the cash register counter and consider the job done. But real and dedicated advertising can truly drive gift card sales as a profit center unto themselves.

How? As we’ve just discussed, it allows non-shooting consumers a way to purchase from you instead of someone else. Gift cards are easy. The trick, of course, is to let those non-shooting consumers know you exist. That can and should include an advertising campaign and sales approach different from your normal methods. Consider these tactics:

  • Ads should specifically be about your gift cards. Remember, firearms are intimidating things to many people and gift cards aren’t. Emphasizing the gift cards and your customer service while generalizing your merchandise can drive new customers to your store and have them look forward to the experience.
  • Target your gift card ads to the non-shooting audience. That could be ad placement in an area of the local newspaper different from your usual spot (Arts & Entertainment versus the Sports section), a radio spot during the local high school football games and even something as high-profile as a billboard. You have to let people who are unaware of your business discover who and where you are and plant the idea in their head that you are a place that can help satisfy their gift giving list.
  • Make your gift cards available not just for in-store purchase, but via your company website and by taking orders over the phone and mailing out the cards.

Brisk gift card sales can greatly boost cash flow during these busy holiday months, which can help offset the cost of heavy inventory buys you made to meet holiday buying demands. Too, some stores provide incentives to use them during certain times or before certain dates, in order to maximize product turn rates prior to taking inventories. (Note: The issuance and redemption of gift cards and gift certificates are subject to federal and various state consumer protection laws. Further information can be found on the Federal Trade Commission’s website and by contacting the Office of the Attorney General in the state where the retailer is located. It is also advisable to consult competent legal counsel familiar with federal and state consumer protection laws to assist in retail business planning.)

Finally, when your store makes a concerted effort to reach out to non-shooting consumers, you have the unprecedented opportunity to take them from “I’ve never been in a gun store before” to “Maybe I’ll sign up for a shooting lesson.” Be friendly to the mom who comes into the store and says she wants a gift certificate for Uncle Albert. Find out what shooting sports Uncle Albert likes to shoot, so you can guide mom to a card of the right amount, and remember to provide them with your store safety literature, range membership information and anything else that demonstrates you’re an asset to your community. In that manner, your gift cards become about far more than what someone finds under the tree this year.

Tip: Whether you’re selling a gift card over the counter or sending it through the mail, including a low-cost, decorative gift card box makes a nice impression that non-traditional customers will appreciate. It not only looks nice, it gives that person something to wrap, rather than just stick in an envelope.


From: wyrd0 DelphiPlus Member Icon11/16/14 12:20 PM 
To: EdGlaze DelphiPlus Member Icon  (6 of 9) 
 1155.6 in reply to 1155.4 
I never understood the appeal of gift cards... If you want to give money, actual money is accepted in every store!

At the risk of sounding dumb, how do they do discounted gift cards? There's a sale on money now?
Example: I buy a $100 card @ 30% discount, I pay $70 to get $100?

From: EdGlaze DelphiPlus Member Icon Posted by host11/9/19 11:55 AM 
To: All  (7 of 9) 
 1155.7 in reply to 1155.5 






Deep Dive: How Gift Cards Become Grift Cards For Quick Serve Restaurants
22 Nov 19

Gift cards are a popular revenue stream for quick-service restaurants (QSRs), largely for the same reasons they are popular among retail businesses of all types: They bring in new customers, promote loyalty among existing customers and create additional revenues when customers exceed the value of their gift cards. Gift cards have largely gone digital with the rise of smartphones and tablets, and the eGift card market was valued at approximately $31.8 billion in 2019.

The value attached to the gift card market has made these items prime targets for fraudsters. A variety of factors have contributed to gift cards’ popularity, including their ease of theft and the simplicity of converting them into cash via online marketplaces. QSRs and retailers are looking to stop this tide of cybercrime by adopting a variety of anti-fraud measures.

The following Deep Dive examines the factors that have contributed to growth in gift card fraud, how fraudsters exploit security loopholes and how merchants can better prevent such crimes.

Why Do Fraudsters Target Gift Cards?

Fraudsters target gift cards for one of two reasons. The first and most obvious is that they want to spend the gift card at the chain they defrauded. It seems counterintuitive to return to the scene of the crime, but QSRs rarely, if ever, require detailed identity information from gift card purchases, like they would for credit cards, allowing fraudsters to make purchases easily.

The second reason fraudsters commit gift card fraud is the ease with which they can convert them into cash. Gift card marketplaces like Raise and Gift Card Granny enable recipients to exchange gift cards for cash or equivalent value for another business. These exchanges are usually anonymous, meaning cybercriminals can use stolen credit cards to buy thousands of dollars of gift cards and sell them at a discount to launder money.

How Do Fraudsters Exact Their Schemes?

Gift card fraud comes in a variety of forms. One method involves fraudsters taking gift cards off the rack and writing down their card numbers and security codes by removing the scratch-off strip on the back of the card. Fraudsters replace the security strip, put the cards back on the rack and periodically check the balance on the compromised cards. Fraudsters receive alerts when legitimate customers activate the card, which can then be laundered or used to make purchases.

Fraudsters also tend to leverage sophisticated digital means to commit fraud. Botnets comprised of thousands of hijacked personal computers and internet of things (IoT) devices can methodically test millions of gift card account numbers and cross-reference them with stolen PINs to log into online gift card accounts. One such attack occurred in 2017, when a botnet called GiftGhostBot ordered more than four million account balance requests every single hour. Once the botnet finds a live gift card, the hacker can swiftly abscond with the account balance.

Store employees are often the culprits of gift card fraud as well, using customers as voluntary or unwitting accomplices. The employee can switch customers’ gift cards with ones that do not have balances, allowing the worker to pocket and sell gift cards. Some employees may also ring up gift cards without putting money on them. This allows them to later use another register to buy an equivalent amount of gift cards using the funds from the original sale. They then go back to the first register and void the first sale, leaving them with several valid gift cards that they can then launder for cash.

No matter what form gift card fraud takes, the impacts can be quite severe. Merchants can be forced to issue chargebacks to credit card companies and banks for gift card purchases and be responsible for any additional penalties. This is on top of the costs associated with the lost inventory, sorting out the fraud and the damage irate customers have done to the brand’s reputation after finding gift card charges on their credit card statements. Potential customers are also often unwilling to patronize chains associated with the fraud.

How Can QSRs Counter Gift Card Fraud?

Solutions for tackling gift card fraud are surprisingly simple. QSRs could keep them behind the counter, rather than leaving them publicly accessible. This requires customers to ask employees before purchasing them, preventing outside attacks. Purchases could then be surveilled via cameras or a watchful store manager to prevent employee theft. QSRs can also lower the transaction limits for their gift cards, disincentivizing cybercriminals from targeting them.

Other preventative efforts rely on more sophisticated solutions, such as leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) to monitor gift card resale sites or track excessive value check requests. Device risk assessment programs can determine whether these value checks are coming from a small number of devices, indicating that hackers could be using botnets to further their schemes.

Cybercriminals will inevitably develop ways to counter gift card fraud prevention techniques as they mature and continue to defraud gift card issuers and customers. QSRs must, therefore, be proactive in their prevention methods, or the presence of fraud could irrevocably taint the lucrative gift card market.

  • Edited November 24, 2019 10:38 am  by  EdGlaze

From: EdGlaze DelphiPlus Member Icon Posted by host11/24/19 10:12 AM 
To: All  (8 of 9) 
 1155.8 in reply to 1155.7 

Black Friday 2019: How scammers use gift cards, hot toy deals to trick you
by Susan Tompor
Detroit Free Press
20 Nov 19

Scammers love impersonating the Internal Revenue Service, the FBI and Social Security. Why not add Black Friday shoppers to the list?

Retailers are being warned that sophisticated scammers could target online Black Friday deals in highly automated schemes that use fraudulent accounts created with stolen data and fictitious identities.

The goal would be to scoop up door-buster deals or special coupons and deplete the inventories of hot merchandise for the holidays, according to Shannon Wu-Lebron, senior director of retail for TransUnion's diversified markets group.

Once the fraudsters use fake credit cards or hijacked accounts to order the stuff at bargain prices, they'll turn around to sell the popular toys, TVs or other deals on online marketplaces and elsewhere at inflated prices.

Holiday shopping in installments:  Here's what to consider

E-skimming:  Hackers hover near online shopping carts

About 75% of shoppers plan to do half or more of their holiday shopping online, according to TransUnion's 2019 Holiday Retail Fraud Survey, released Nov. 19. Of that group, 46% worry about becoming a victim of fraud.

The survey of 2,593 American adults took place in October.

Here are tips to stay safe:

Beware of pitches for hot toys you can't find

The Better Business Bureau warns that scammers may send a text message out of the blue promoting very low prices on hard-to-find gifts. There can be hidden charges or monthly fees or even outright fraud if someone is phishing for your personal information or credit card number.

Cyber criminals like to use big events, such as Black Friday or Cyber Monday, to send emails containing malicious links or attachments, according to a holiday shopping alert from the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.

React fast if your password doesn't work

It's more common than you might think for fraudsters to attempt to take over your credit card account to steal loyalty points or rewards built up on the card or make unauthorized purchases.

The fraudsters use stolen information, perhaps from a data breach, that's available on the Dark Web.

You might spot a sign of trouble if your regular password won't work and you've not changed the password. Or you might spot charges on monthly statements you didn't authorize.

Experts say you do not want to use the same password over and over again on every site.

Take the extra steps for ID verification

It's important for retailers and e-commerce sites to identify fraud patterns as they emerge. Retailers and others need to determine if fraudsters are using a smartphone or laptop that doesn't match the device used by a legitimate consumer, according to Geoff Miller, head of global fraud and identity solutions at TransUnion.

"Moving to a digital word has allowed fraudsters to be more advanced and technically savvy," Miller said.

About 57% of consumers surveyed said they were likely to go through the extra steps of verification to complete a purchase even if a company suspended their order over concerns of possible fraud, according to TransUnion's 2019 Holiday Retail Fraud Survey.

Examine that gift card before you buy it

Con artists make millions of dollars going to major retailers to engage in a variety of gift card scams.

"Look for gift cards that are either near, at or behind the register, or those that need to be loaded with funds before they're usable," said Brian Krebs, who writes a blog called "Krebs On Security" and wrote a bestseller called "Spam Nation."

He noted that most retailers and restaurants that sell gift cards allow you to order those cards via their websites — which might be a smarter option to avoid some types of fraud.

Con artists have engineered a way to steal information and tamper with gift cards inside the store. As a result, you must take time to examine the decal covering a PIN to make sure the PIN isn't visible.

Remember when it comes to decals, "thieves can easily scratch those off, and then replace the material with identical or similar decals that are sold very cheaply by the roll online," according to

It's part of an elaborate scheme in which crooks can gather enough information off a gift card on the rack, go online to monitor the gift card account's activity at the retailer’s online portal, then strike once the cards are paid for and activated at the checkout register.

"Once a card is activated, thieves can encode that card’s data onto any card with a magnetic stripe and use that counterfeit to purchase merchandise at the retailer. The stolen goods typically are then sold online or on the street," according to KrebsOnSecurity.


  • Edited November 24, 2019 10:41 am  by  EdGlaze

From: EdGlaze DelphiPlus Member Icon Posted by host11/24/19 10:30 AM 
To: All  (9 of 9) 
 1155.9 in reply to 1155.8 

Don't fall for text from the bank — it's a scam

The holiday rush puts everyone on edge about their money — and scammers know it.

The con artists text consumers pretending to be their bank regarding a need to reset a password because of a fraudulent charge of some sort. Don't do it. The scammers want to download malicious software onto your device to retrieve information. Or they want you to call someone and give them bank account information. 

"You may think, how do they know which bank I use?" said Melanie Duquesnel, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving eastern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula. "Hackers can easily view past web traffic and easily identify which bank you use." 

It's as simple as someone hacking into your computer and looking at browser information. Scammers hack smartphones as well and can potentially view your apps.

If you're worried that there may be an issue with your account, call your bank directly using a number found on your statement.

Ignore any prompts to text "stop or no," because that's a common ploy for scammers who want to confirm that they have an active number.

Watch out for fake shipping invoices from Amazon or DHL where scammers take advantage of the rushed nature of the shopping season to get you to click on a link.

Be aware of e-skimming

Scammers are able to gain access to e-commerce sites to steal your credit card number as you make purchases online.

The FBI warns, "E-skimming occurs when an attacker injects malicious code onto a website to capture credit or debit card data or personally identifiable information."

Small and medium-sized businesses, as well as government agencies, that take credit card payments online may be vulnerable.

Be wary of attachments in any email that you receive. Don't click on pop up ads. Use a credit card, instead of a debit card online, for more consumer protection.


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