SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - More and more people are doing their holiday shopping from the comfort of their own home. Around 60 percent of consumers plan on buying presents online.
It's not only the holiday season, it's also the season for scammers. They are looking to catch you off guard and it's getting more difficult all the time to detect those scams. Experts warn to be especially careful of links for 'too good to be true' deals on social media.
"What scammers do, they go on social media platforms, they advertise great products that are real products only cheaper and they would send them to their own duplicate sites," said Sorin Mihailovici, with Scam-Detector.com.
One key tip to keep from getting duped: look at the URL, make sure it says HTTPS, not just HTTP. The "s" stands for secure.
"So, if they don't have that, if the duplicate site doesn't have the HTTPS and it only has HTTP, you can rest assured that that's a scam," Mihailovici said.
So, if you are shopping on websites, make sure and look for that 's,' and don't just click on a Facebook ad, go to the home site.
If you are using a shopping app, focus on those from trusted retailers. Some free apps contain malware.
Avoid shopping with debit cards online. Thieves gaining access directly to your banking account can be a whole lot worse than just hacking a credit card, and credit cards generally offer stronger consumer protection that allows you to dispute charges.
Make sure to use a secure wi-fi when shopping. Also if you have doubts, buying over the phone can provide a modest level of security.
If you are buying off an unfamiliar site, check user reviews as well as badges from consumer protection agencies. It may take a little extra time, but remember you aren't the only one who is busy this time of year - so are scammers.