FBI Alert! Ten Biggest Online Scams to Hit This Holiday Season

  • AUTHOR: dua
  • POSTED ON: November 19, 2020

FBI Alerts!

The holiday season is
right around the corner, so naturally, numerous scams are making rounds on the
internet. But don’t worry, because the Federal Bureau of Investigation is
looking out for you!

The FBI has issued a
warning against online shoppers following the surge in American customers not
receiving their products after purchasing them. Recently, the FBI released a
statement proclaiming that an increasing number of victims is being directed to
fraudulent sites online through social media platforms like Facebook and

The automatic rise in
complaints suggest that orders that placed via these sites don’t match the
actual products or that they only got facemasks from China, regardless of what
they had ordered.

Amongst others, Amazon
Prime scams are alarmingly high at the moment. FBI has dived deep into the dark
side of the web and discovered a bunch of fraudulent activities that can cause
you significant damage.

Most scammers own
private domains to avoid personal details from being published in the Who is
Public Internet Directory. Therefore, instead of “.com” some of the sites use
the internet high-end domains, like “.club” and “.top” to appear more reliable
and authentic. However, these websites usually contain copied content from
legitimate websites and unassociated US addresses and contact details, which ends up misleading the users as they manage to
buy the lie.

Source: Cape Carol Police Department

In addition, victims
are lured with the guarantee that items are uncompromised and being sold at low
prices. Some even claim that, due to the high demand due to lockdown SOPs, the
delivery may take longer than expected.

Reesha Dedhia is a
security evangelist at PerimeterX. She said: “In addition to ads on social media platforms and search engines, we
have also recently seen a scam from browser extensions that involve
redirecting a shopper’s browser to a bunch of malicious domains and websites
with the goal of stealing a user’s data and displaying malicious ads.”

Below we’ve compiled the
biggest online scams cleverly devised to trap innocent users online:

Prime Zombie Listings

You may also refer to
this site as zombie listings; these pages deliberately don’t provide you with
customer reviews that match with the actual products. Basically, scammers
search for inactive or abandoned listings and make up dishonest testimonials
themselves or simply copy from the internet.

After catching the
target, they control the listings and update the images and other pictorial
descriptions to match the product they’re selling. As a result, a page that was
originally meant to sell pairs of socks ends up displaying coffee mugs with a
number of 5-star reviews. Scammer obviously attracts customers as the testimonials
are designed to lure even the most indecisive ones.

The idea is to not buy the fantasy. Apart from the
ratings, you should spend time reading the reviews and studying the whole
website. This is one of the most common scams out there! Hence, if you find
that the website has pictures similar to the ones you viewed on other sites or
that some images seem to be repeated throughout, just know that something is


What’s that one trait
that makes it easy for the scammers to trick you? Naivety!

Many websites take
advantage of you by cold-calling customers and claiming that they are
representatives of prestigious companies; so they might hit you up and claim to
be employees of Amazon and suggest that you were wrongfully charged for a
product or something along those lines.

Eventually, the
customer would dial the customer care representatives and find out that their
account has been compromised. Excuses like their system error or technical
glitches will drop once or twice during these conversations. Anyway, the next
thing you know, they have your password and remote access. This is essentially
the new way of age-old Microsoft Tech scam.

By giving scammers access
to your computer, you give them hold of your credit card information as well as
other passcodes. You’re literally putting yourself in a dangerously
compromising situation.

Source: Turbofuture

Another way is that
you’ll receive emails. Like, you could receive a fake email claiming that you
have accidentally bought the Amazon Prime subscription or something and that you must
provide the credit card details to them now.

Amazon Account Opening

Another persistent scam
that emerges every holiday season is the Account Opening trick. Thousands of
people have reported this crime in the past and it’s something that you must
keep in mind during the upcoming holiday season.

You might receive a
call from a recognized company, claiming that some account has opened up in
your name, and by pressing one, your call will be transported to a chat
representative, who’ll be resolving your so-called issue. This way, the
fraudulent would gain access to your device and achieve profit. You must hang
up the call immediately if the person makes such claims.

Also, try and report it
immediately, so that no one else falls prey to this threat.

Amazon Review

This is the latest
trend in the scamming world! Have you ever checked up the reviews on eCommerce
websites? Users tend to see the ratings and price tag at most and make the
decision to make the purchase, but what’s the hurry?

You should always make the
effort to read the reviews on the website, because most of them tend to be
repetitive and dishonest.

You know when that one
friend keeps yapping on and on about something and you know that it’s all lies?
Like, you can detect it easily? Well, that is exactly what we mean here. Every
person has the ability to detect bullshit. So read the reviews and then go with
your gut.

So, here’s how you
might fall prey to this scamming technique or any online shopping scam: someone might contact you on your
social media platform, like Facebook and Instagram, and they might offer you a
free product in exchange for a good review. This person would agree to the
terms and leave a review as discussed. However, they’d never get the product as
promised – it rarely ever happens (maybe only if you’re an influencer or some
famous internet personality).

This way, not only does
the victim gets fooled, but others who buy from the website buy the false review
and receive poor-conditioned products or no delivery at

These online shopping scams
are at the peak during fall and holiday season because people are desperate to
get low-priced gifts and decoration stuff. Hence, the FBI has discovered these
traps to warn and keep you alert.

So which one do you consider the biggest online scam?

Updated November 19, 2020
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