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Searching online for a bargain or a hard-to-find holiday gift? Hordes of shoppers are and, as the FBI tells it, cybercriminals eager to rip them off are working harder than Santa’s elves in December.
During the 2020 holiday season, more than $53 million in losses arose from complaints about items that were ordered but not delivered, figures at the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, ic3.gov, show.
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That’s a king’s ransom in Fitbits, flannel pajamas, furry slippers and fruitcakes.
The 2020 holiday loss figure stemmed from more than 17,000 reports — an average of more than 340 from each state — and could grow this year because of fears of merchandise shortages and the pandemic, the bureau warned in a recent alert.
Bah humbug to the bad actors
Here are five techniques criminals use to entice victims:
1. E-mails advertising hot or hard-to-find items such as event tickets or gaming systems.
2. Untrustworthy websites and ads promoting unrealistic discounts and bargains.
3. Social media posts offering vouchers, gift cards, freebies and contests. These posts often appear to have been shared by a friend.