Commonwealth of Virginia
Office of the Attorney General
900 East Main Street
Contact: Emily Bolton
ATTORNEY GENERAL HERRING LAUNCHES HOLIDAY SCAM AWARENESS EFFORT
~ '12 Days of Holiday Scams' will provide Virginians with proven tips and tricks to avoid getting Scrooged by scammers during the holiday season ~
RICHMOND (December 14, 2015) - Today, Attorney General Herring launched "12 Days of Holiday Scams," a public awareness effort to arm Virginians with knowledge and tips to avoid common holiday scams. Each day for the next 12 business days, Attorney General Herring will issue a holiday-related infographic on Tumblr, Twitter, and Facebook detailing how Virginians can protect themselves and their families from becoming victims during the holiday season, a time when scams and fraud increase.
"The holidays are a time for joy and family, but unfortunately, scammers and fraudsters use this time of year to prey on consumers," said Attorney General Mark Herring. "These tips will arm Virginians with the knowledge to protect themselves and their families from becoming victims this holiday season. From my family to yours, I hope you enjoy this joyous season and look to my office as a resource for your consumer protection needs."
According to an FTC report, in 2014 Virginia had the 11th most fraud and other consumer complaints per capita in the United States, with Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads both positioned in the top 50 per capita in a metropolitan area ranking. The FTC received 55,458 identity theft, fraud, and other consumer complaints from Virginia in 2014.
An uptick in the number of fraud cases and scams surrounding the holidays make December an ideal time to spread the word about tips to protect Virginia consumers from predatory and fraudulent practices online, in person, on the phone, or through the mail.
"Day 1: Online Shopping" includes the following tips and guidelines on Tumblr:
Online shopping has revolutionized the way we find the perfect gifts for loved ones. It provides convenience and access to more products than have ever been available to consumers.
However, it's important not to get Scrooged by phony retail websites and scammers who increasingly target consumers through social media sites and links that request personal information. To ensure a seamless online holiday shopping experience, do the following:
- Verify online retailers
- Check to see if they have a registered physical address and phone number
- Make sure they have privacy statement
- Ensure they use a trusted payment gateway
- Look for "https" at the beginning of the internet address. The "s" means the site is secure. [NOTE: it is possible for someone to still view your online activity if you're on a unsecured network]
- NEVER click on an email or social media site unless you are certain the message is from a legitimate business
- Look for warning signs like spelling errors, low-res images, strange websites that change once you've navigated to the site, and unsolicited emails
How to get involved:
- Follow @AGMarkHerring on Twitter and use hashtag #12DaysofScams
- LIKE & SHARE on Facebook
- Check out Attorney General Herring's Tumblr and official website
Upcoming topics will include tips on avoiding holiday gift card scams, information on schemes that target older Virginians, giving to charities, and much more. Visit the Attorney General Herring's Tumblr site and other social media outlets for new tips and tricks each morning.
Herring's Consumer Protection Section helps educate Virginians about fraud and accepts consumer complaints regarding a variety of issues. Virginians may contact the Office to get information on scams or threats, or to file a complaint. Visit our website: www.ag.virginia.gov or call 1-800-552-9963 in Virginia or (804) 786-2042 if calling from the Richmond area.