OKLAHOMA – Almost a third of Oklahomans have been targeted by fraud.
Oklahoma Attorney General John O’Connor is urging Oklahomans to use caution when making purchases and donations this holiday season to avoid scams and fraud.
The FBI’s 2021 Internet Crime Report found losses due to cybercrime exceeded $6.9 billion in the United States last year. The report noted 4,156 Oklahomans made complaints to the FBI and lost more than $50 million.
“As we enter another exciting holiday season, I want to make sure Oklahomans are prepared with the latest consumer protection tips to help ensure safe, joyful festivities and shopping,” O’Connor said in a prepared statement.
“Scam artists view the holiday season as an opportune time to take advantage of consumers, which is why it is more important than ever to take precautions to protect yourself and your money. Remember, if it seems too good to be true, it is,” O/Connor said.
The state’s Consumer Protection Unit is offering the following tips to protect Oklahomans and their families this holiday season:
- Buy gift cards for gifts, not for payments. If someone contacts you and demands that you pay them with a gift card, it is likely a scam.
- Research charities before you donate.
- Don’t click any suspicious links or attachments in emails, on websites, or on social media.
- Check each website’s URL to make sure it’s legitimate and secure. A site you’re buying from should have “https” in the web address.
- If possible, pay with a credit card. Credit cards give extra protection for most online purchases and many cards offer benefits like protection for returns and purchases.
- Monitor the shipping process. Always get tracking numbers for items you buy online, so you can make sure they have been shipped and can follow the delivery process.
- Spot and avoid government impersonators. This type of scam often starts with a call, email, or text from someone who says they’re with the IRS, Social Security Administration, or Medicare – but sometimes they give a fake agency name, like the non-existent National Sweepstakes Bureau. They will also give you some reason why you need to send money or give them your personal information immediately. If you get a call like this, hang up the phone. Government agencies won’t call, email, or text you and ask for money or personal information.
- Learn how to recognize mail scams and mail fraud texts. These can come in the form of prize offers, threatened punishments, or even a text message.
If you encounter a holiday scam, file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission online or at 877-382-4357 and report it to the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Unit at https://www.oag.ok.gov/consumer-protection-unit, or call 1-833-681-1895.
For more resources on charitable organizations, including ratings, reviews, and financial information visit:
- Charity Navigator
- Federal Trade Commission Gift Card Scams