OKLAHOMA CITY – Attorney General Mike Hunter is urging Oklahomans to use caution when making online purchases this holiday season to avoid scams and fraud.
According to Adobe Digital Insights, a company that publishes research on digital marketing to marketers and business leaders, reported online sales during the 2016 holiday season hit a record $91.7 billion in sales, up from $82.5 billion in 2015. Researchers anticipate even more online sales in 2017.
The FBI’s 2016 Internet Crime Report stated recently, loss from cybercrime exceeded $1.3 billion in the United States last year. The report noted 2,455 Oklahomans made complaints to the FBI and lost more than $15.4 million.
Attorney General Hunter said rapid advancement in technology brings sophisticated scams that could target unsuspecting Oklahomans who are trying to get their shopping done online.
“Data breaches in 2016 increased by 40 percent from the previous year, hitting an all-time record high,” Attorney General Hunter said. “Cybercriminals view the holiday season as an opportune time to take advantage of individuals looking to find good deals and save money. Though it is convenient and easy to make holiday purchases online, I am urging Oklahomans to be vigilant while searching the internet for gifts for their loved ones.”
Attorney General Hunter’s Consumer Protection Unit is offering the following online shopping tips to protect Oklahomans and their families this holiday season.
- Never click on popup ads – popup ads could contain malware or spyware that will infect computers with a virus or steal personal information;
- Never make a payment through a wire transfer for an online purchase;
- Continuously check credit card and bank statements for unauthorized activity;
- If purchasing from an online store consumers have never heard of, confirm a physical addresses and phone number before placing an order;
- Watch for copycat websites – cybercriminals create fake websites and offer deals on well-known brands. When accessing the website, it will install malware that will steal personal information. To avoid this, check the website for misspellings, or retype the actual website into the URL;
- Use best judgement, if a deal is too good to be true, it probably is.