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  • Geebo 9:00 am on December 23, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: barcode, , , holiday shopping,   

    Why are scammers putting barcode stickers on gift cards? 

    Why are scammers putting barcode stickers on gift cards?

    With Christmas almost upon us this week, many people are most assuredly picking up gift cards as last-minute gifts. However, if shoppers aren’t careful, they could end up with more trouble than they bargained for. In the past, we’ve discussed the myriad of ways that scammers can alter gift cards so you end up paying the scammers rather than giving a gift to a loved one. Now, we can add one more scam to that list that could possibly fool any eagle-eyed shopper looking for a quick Christmas present.

    Police in Florida are reporting that shoppers in their area have purchased gift cards that have barcode stickers placed over the actual barcode on the back of the card. Scammers will do this to fool the shopper and the store to add the value of the purchase to the scammer’s card and not the shopper’s card. This means the scammer can collect the card’s value without being anywhere near the store. All the scammer needs to do is put the phony barcode sticker on a series of cards hanging on a store’s rack and they could rake in the cash virtually undetected. Meanwhile, the recipient of the card may not even notice until they try to use the card.

    Whenever you purchase a gift card from a store you should always examine it for any kind of tampering as this is just one way in which scammers try to steal from gift cards. Also, when possible, take a gift card from the middle or back of the pack as scammers tend to target the ones in the front so they can get their money as soon as possible. And while cash may seem a bit impersonal as a gift, you can always dress it up to seem more personal. Plus, a person can’t be scammed out of cash as easily as a gift card.

  • Geebo 9:00 am on December 11, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , holiday shopping, ,   

    When family comes calling for gift cards 

    When family comes calling for gift cards

    In the past, we’ve talked about family impersonation scams such as the grandparent scam. We’ve also talked about the numerous scams that involve retail gift cards. Now, we have reports of the two scams coming together like an evil chimera of scams. Once again, the scammers are upping their game during the holiday season and are looking to prey on your bonds with your family in order to try to get you to part with your hard-earned money under false pretenses. In short, they’re looking to take advantage of the charity you have for your family for their own gain,

    A report out of Northern California has revealed a new type of scam where scammers are posing as your relatives through email. The scammer will ask you to buy a gift card for their niece or nephew while the scammer claims that they’re traveling and can’t buy it themselves. They’ll either have you send the gift card to an address or have you email them the gift card serial number off of the back of the card. Either way, the phony relative disappears with your money from the gift card.

    If you receive one of these emails, check the email address to make sure if it’s the one that belongs to your relative. Even if it matches you should still call that relative to make sure they didn’t send that email. The request for the gift card itself should send up a red flag. Gift cards can be bought at almost any store from dollar stores to the bog box markets. Even gas station mini-marts sell various gift cards. If your relative claims to be traveling then they really should have no problem buying a gift card on their own. If they say otherwise, it’s more than likely a scam.

  • Geebo 9:00 am on December 3, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , holiday shopping, , , ,   

    Is your city in the porch pirates’ top 10? 

    Is your city in the porch pirates' top 10?

    Another type of Grinch that wants to ruin your holiday season is the heartless porch pirate. This is the term used for thieves who will steal package deliveries straight from your porch or mailbox. With more and more people eschewing brick and mortar stores for online Christmas shopping, the problem of stolen packages is becoming more and more prevalent. It’s gotten so bad that there’s not a lot of what police departments can do once a package is stolen. If you’ve had a package stolen from your porch, you may think that your city is the worst. However, a study done by a home security company claims to have found the top ten cities where porch pirates are most prolific.

    According to home security company Safewise, they have looked at not only FBI statistics but also web searches for things like stolen or missing packages. They’ve determined that the top ten cities and metro areas for porch pirates are San Francisco, Salt Lake City, Portland, Baltimore, Seattle-Tacoma, Chicago, Austin, Denver, L.A., and Sacramento. Not surprisingly, a number of these cities are large tech hubs where more people tend to buy things online than in stores. Also, California is more represented on this list than any other state.

    It’s better to prevent porch theft than it is to try to recover a stolen package. While a doorbell camera or home security camera may catch the thieves in the act, it doesn’t seem to discourage them from stealing your deliveries. Instead of having packages left at your doorstep, you may want to consider having them delivered to your place of work, or to a neighbor’s house who is home more often. With their permission, of course. You may also want to consider renting a post office box at your local mail supply store. Not only does this give you a street address to use for deliveries, but they can also sign for packages for you. If you’re having an item shipped directly, try to have it delivered at a time when someone will definitely be home. Also, the US Postal Service has many free services available to you to prevent porch piracy such as having your mail held so you can pick it up at the post office.

    Just a few preventative steps will help you have a theft-free Christmas.

  • Geebo 9:00 am on December 2, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , holiday shopping, , ,   

    Homeland Security warns of counterfeits for Christmas 

    Homeland Security warns of counterfeits for Christmas

    If you’re looking for a very special Christmas present like a Louis Vuitton bag or a Rolex watch, you have to traverse through the minefield that are counterfeit goods. More often than not, when buying a well-known luxury brand item you’ll have to deal more with fakes then you will the genuine article. Besides being possibly ripped off, the high-end counterfeit goods market has been linked to every type of criminal activity from human trafficking to organized crime and funding terrorism. In the past year alone, the Department of Homeland Security has confiscated over $500 million in counterfeit goods.

    DHS has issued a warning about these phony products flooding the market during the holiday shopping season. They say to beware of websites offering deep discounts for normally expensive items as that’s a good indicator that the products are knock offs. A number of these sites offering these goods could also be just a front to gain your financial information and not even send you a product. DHS also wants people to know that knowingly buying a counterfeit product is also a federal offense and could land not only the seller but the buyer in jail as well.

    If you’re looking to buy these products first-hand, then only deal with reputable merchants and keep all the documentation that comes with it including receipts and confirmation emails. If you’re buying these items second-hand, any person selling these items should have all the documentation that goes along with them as they’re a common form of confirmation of the item’s authenticity. Some second-hand markets even have authenticity programs for high-end goods in order to try to prevent fraud. And while it may be fun to own a knock-off as a form of entertainment, keep in mind that buying one is not only illegal but you never really know where your money is going or what it’s funding.

    So, to keep everybody safe and happy during the holiday season, only buy genuine.

  • Geebo 9:00 am on November 27, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , holiday shopping, , ,   

    How to avoid online Black Friday scams 

    How to avoid online Black Friday scams

    In the past, we’ve advised against going to brick and mortar retailers on Black Friday. Not just for safety reasons but also because many retailers engage in misleading business practices by using limited stock to try o get you to buy more expensive items. Usually, these so-called doorbuster deals can be found for the same price or lower later into the holiday shopping season. In the past few years, we’ve advised shopping online rather than braving the crowds on Black Friday. However, even online Black Friday shopping comes with its own pitfalls.

    While many of the big-name online retailers are safe to shop through, scammers will try to trick you into believing you’re using one of those retailers, but it reality you may not be. Scammers will send out phishing emails using the actual logos of famous shopping sites but will leave a link in the email that will take you to a phony site that resembles the real thing. They’ll then try to gain your financial information for possible identity theft and other potential abuses. Along the same vein, scammers will pose as retailers and send you an email asking you to download something in order to get a deal. This will instead infect your device with malware which could allow bad actors to access your device remotely and steal as much information as they want from it. Always go directly to a retailer’s website rather than clicking on anything in an email.

    As the video above mentions, if at all possible, use a credit card over a debit card when making purchases. While both debit and credit cards offer protection against scam purchases, credit cards have better protections and won’t take any money directly from your bank balance. Also, keep an eye on both your debit and credit card accounts to make sure that no unauthorized purchases have been made on them. Many of these services can be set up to send you a notification every time the account is used. While the notifications may be a bit annoying, they can go a long way in preventing fraud on your accounts.

    And as always, keep in mind that gift cards are the currency of scammers and you could be ripped off in a number of ways when buying gift cards. You can check our previous post here about what to look out for when buying gift cards.

    Once again, we wish you a happy and headache-free holiday season.

  • Geebo 9:59 am on November 9, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: free delivery, holiday shopping, , ,   

    Target offers free delivery while closing stores 

    Target offers free delivery while closing stores

    Retail’s favorite holiday is fast approaching, Black Friday. That time that used to announce the start of the Christmas shopping season the day after Thanksgiving, which has now even encroached into the holiday. In order to compete with online retailers that they’ve been losing ground to for years now, some stores are offering certain perks.

    Target will be offering free shipping for their online orders for the holiday in an effort to try to battle for that coveted ‘last mile’. Again, the last mile is considered the most expensive part of any home delivery by retailers. The question is, should Target be offering free delivery for the holidays when they’re set to close multiple locations in the new year?

    Will the promise of free delivery for the holidays be enough to turn Target’s profit margins around? It’s highly doubtful as it seems like they’re robbing Peter to pay Paul. It almost seems like it’s too little too late for Target as they waited too long to try to compete with the much larger competition of Amazon and Walmart.

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