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FBI: Be wary of Cyber Monday scams

As I mentioned in my Scam of the Week column Sunday (“For scams, the most wonderful time of the year”), many law enforcement and consumer-protection groups are offering free advice this season to protect you against Christmas-related scams.

And that includes the feds.

FBI logo 11-25-13On Monday, representatives of the FBI, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office gathered for a news conference in Detroit to urge consumers to be vigilant against fraud next week on Cyber Monday.

Cyber Monday, the first Monday after Thanksgiving, has grown to become one of the busiest online shopping days of the year — and, with that, an open invitation to would-be scammers.

Each year, consumers run the risk of losing money, receiving bogus merchandise or falling prey to identify theft or credit-card fraud.

“Like all technology, online shopping offers benefits and risks,” said U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade of the Eastern District of Michigan. “Online shopping offers convenience and information for comparison shopping, but consumers should do their homework before sharing credit card information online.”

Among the tips offered by the FBI:


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— Only buy merchandise from reputable sellers.

— Get the physical address and telephone number — and then call to make sure that the number is correct and working.

— Send an email to the seller to make sure it’s a legitimate email address.

— Check out the seller’s reputation by visiting the Better Business Bureau website in the seller’s region.

For the full list from the FBI, click here.