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Make safe online shopping a habit this holiday season

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Posted at 4:00 AM, Dec 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-23 08:17:08-05

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — The traditional holiday shopping season began with bad news for many Americans.

The credit bureau TransUnion estimated just under 20 percent of all online sales in the United States between Thanksgiving and Black Friday were fraudulent. That number is consistent with data collected during the same holiday shopping weekend since 2019.

“It’s an issue that's not going away,” Jeff Carson, the Kansas City region president for Enterprise Bank and Trust, said. “We’ve seen too many great people and small businesses affected by it.”

Carson said when one of his clients is scammed online, his team takes it personally and acts with a kind of vengeance to make the client whole again.

“There's been times where my team has been up late at night with a small business fighting to get some of the money back,” Carson said, explaining banker’s hours are all hours in today’s world. Carson also shared some advice for anyone shopping online.

How to avoid scams:

  • If something is too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Ask a friend for second opinion on a really good deal, if you’re suspicious.
  • Research common scam trends: someone asking you to pay them with gift cards, someone rushing your order, someone promising to pay you back with more money later, fraudsters posing as government authorities.
  • Never agree to wire someone money for an online transaction.

After being scammed:

  • It’s never too early to cancel payment on a transaction you think is suspicious.
  • The earlier you alert your bank or credit card company, the better chance you have of getting your money back.
  • Change your passwords and PIN numbers.
  • Report fraud to local law enforcement and the state attorney general’s consumer division.

In general:

  • Use a credit card for online purchases because they have built-in protections.
  • Monitor credit reports: look for drastic changes in your credit score and know who is looking at your credit.
  • Monitor credit card statements: you should be able to vouch for every transaction.