The RCMP is reminding shoppers to use reputable vendors and beware of the potential for fraudsters attempting to prey upon them if they choose to shop online for Christmas gifts.
“The increased amount of commercial activity during the holiday season kind of opens up more opportunities for the types of fraud we normally see that take place when people are looking for that particular special, hard to find gift for somebody. They may end up going into corners of the online world that are not as reputable or regulated and end up being victims,” Alberta provincial economic crime team member Corporal Sean Milne said.
As with all times of year, shoppers should strive for good Internet hygiene, such as changing your passwords, making sure those passwords are strong and secure, and using multi-factor authentication.
“We always recommend you lock down your information as much as possible. Limit to what you’re posting about yourself. Review your privacy settings on [platforms] you’re using.” Milne said.
Milne also warns abouts clicking links in unsolicited offers received in your email.
“That [link] might not necessarily be for a legitimate site. You could be going to a place that’s there to fish and harvest your identity information or your financial credentials, or gets you to buy counterfeit or non-existent merchandise,” Milne said.
If you happen to be committing fraud and are somehow reading an article about the Mounties warning your potential victims about you, Milne has a message for you, too:
“There are better ways to make money that will leave less of an impression on your own self-worth, so try to find something like that to work at.”