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Watching Your Wallet: Avoiding online holiday scams

Published: Nov. 18, 2021 at 10:35 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 18, 2021 at 11:49 PM CST
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JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - With more people surfing the web for the perfect Christmas gift, experts say it’s important to protect yourself on the front end, so you don’t become victim to a holiday ripoff.

In Arkansas, the Better Business Bureau reported 465 online scams from 2016 to 2021, with approximately 40 reports in Northeast Arkansas.

Janet Robb, President and CEO of Better Business Bureau of Arkansas, said scammers will lure people off of social media with appealing advertisements for a fake website.

“A lot of times, there are phantom companies that post these Facebook ads, and the company does not really exist,” Robb said.

Robb added before getting too excited and clicking on a link, do your homework on the retail company to verify its reputation.

She mentioned when making purchases online, it’s better to use a credit card as it has more protections than a debit card.

“If the item does not arrive, or if it arrives and it’s not as it was represented, you can contact your credit card company, and dispute that charge,” she said.

Centennial Bank Senior Regional Retail Leader Jay Clevenger said when it comes to disputing those debit card charges, you should act fast on getting the charge disputed.

“It takes a little paperwork to do, but they can assist you through that paperwork, and submit your claim, and hopefully get it resolved for you,” Clevenger said.

Clevenger mentioned the best way to shop safely is to look for the letters “HTTPS” at the beginning of a web address.

“Also, look for the little lock icon,” he said.

When a card asks you to save a card number, Clevenger said you increase the risk of your information being compromised in a breach.

Both experts agreed consumers should be proactive in their shopping by ensuring they don’t put themselves at risk of being hacked or scammed.

“We want to help you on the front end,” Robb said. “so we don’t have to help try to navigate a problem on the backend, where your chances of being restored are very slim.”

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