With Christmas less than two weeks away, stores across West Virginia are filled with shoppers looking to grab that perfect gift before it’s gone, but that eagerness is exactly what the FBI says scammers look for.
“The closer we get to the major holidays, everyone is in a rush, and they’re trying to buy gifts quickly. They are looking for good deals, and they’re also looking for fast and easy shipping. They’re looking for gift card opportunities, ” stated Nicholas Boshears, FBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge and Head of National Security for West Virginia.
However, the scams do not just stop at a few. The Better Business Bureau confirmed more than 208 reported scams just this year in West Virginia. Boshears confirmed that some scammers will even duplicate logos and information from websites to confuse customers, along with false companies through email trying to acquire your personal information.
As college students in need of extra money leave campus for break, one scam they may encounter is a work from home scheme that promises fast cash.
“People during this time of the year are looking for ways to get extra money, and so they’ll see an opportunity where they pay maybe a $100 or $200 for a kit to work from home, and then they never receive any of the benefits that are offered, ” said Boshear.
FBI officials said taking the extra time to do your research could mean the difference between getting a good deal or losing out this Christmas and if it’s too good to be true, chances are it is.
“They can look online and see if there are spelling mistakes on the ad or website. Or, if it’s asking for a lot of personal information up front, they need to just take a minute and contact the retailer directly to make sure that that deal or offer is actually legitimate,” said Boshear.
If you find yourself involved in a potential scam, you can file our a scammer complaint at www.IC3.gov.
To view a list of reported West Virginia scams, view thw Better Business Bureau scams list.