Consumer Alert: The scammers are busy. Here’s how you avoid being a victim

Consumer Alert: Protect yourself from scams

The News10NBC Team details breaking News, Traffic and Weather.

This Consumer Alert is all about protecting your money. The number of scams increase dramatically this time of year. Every day, a consumer reaches out to me about a scam. The most common complaint that’s landing in my inbox of late is a Facebook ad scam. Thirty-eight percent of the ads you find on social media are scams.  So says Kathy Stokes, the AARP’s Director of Fraud Prevention.

Stokes says in their studies, the most common scam reported is the package delivery text message scam.  Fifty-three percent of folks have gotten this fake text message. You may remember that I wrote about it a week ago.

The scammer claims he can’t deliver a package and asks you to click on a link.  Don’t do it.  The thief is either trying to get your information or install malware on your device.

And are you thinking about giving a gift card this holiday season? According to AARP, two thirds of shoppers say it’s probable or very likely. And thieves know that. All too often the recipient of that gift card tries to use it only to find the money is gone.  AARP research finds that 27 percent of us have given or received a gift card with no balance.

“Pull those cards off the rack and go halfway back or all the way back and grab one from the back and not from the front. because we do know that criminals will go into these stores and get those cards, hide in a corner somewhere and expose the pin and cover them back up,” said Stokes. ”And then they use a computer algorithm or something so that when that card goes to be purchased, they get a ping and they can automatically download those funds.”

Stokes says when possible, choose a gift card from a rack that’s close to a register. They’re less likely to be tampered with. Another key tip is to never pay an online business with Venmo, Cash App or Zelle. You have no consumer protections, and if the business is a scam, your money is gone.

Safe shopping is happy shopping.