November 24, 2022
  • November 24, 2022

Attorney General warns of holiday shopping scams

By on November 26, 2021 0

The Pennsylvania attorney general’s office has warned residents about scams and fraudulent businesses during the holiday season.

“Pennsylvanians need to be vigilant of con artists this holiday season,” said Attorney General Josh Shapiro.

Here are the things to watch for this holiday season:

  • The bait and the switch: Unscrupulous retailers may advertise products at low prices, but when you get to the store, the price may be higher than advertised, or the product may not be there at all. To combat this tactic, take in-store retailer ads with you when shopping.
  • Skimming devices: Skimmers are machines typically placed on gas pumps or ATMs to capture data from the magnetic stripe on the back of credit and debit cards. If something doesn’t seem out of place, or if a stationary payment device moves easily, use another ATM, gas pump, or cash register.
  • Cybersquatting sites: Scammers try to masquerade as well-known websites by buying names similar to well-known websites and then reversing the characters or making slight changes to the name of the site. Impersonator sites can look like the real website – and they can steal your credit information. Read website addresses carefully to make sure you are shopping on a legitimate website.
  • Copied and fraudulent websites: Fake websites created by scammers target online shoppers during the holiday season. Sometimes appearing as ad results in online searches, these sites may contain malware or steal entered credit card data. To avoid making purchases from untrustworthy sites, try to independently verify that the website you are using is legitimate.
  • Security certificates: To ensure that you are shopping on a secure website, make sure the website begins with “https” and has a small padlock icon next to the web page address. Keep your computer, tablet or smartphone up to date and install security software.
  • Retailers requesting payment by wire transfer: Legitimate online businesses will not use bank transfers to collect payment for purchases. This is a sure sign of a scam.

Report a correction by e-mail | Editorial standards and policies