May 22, 2024

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Scam alert: Be cautious during holiday shopping

3 min read
If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. This holiday season, look out for these gift card scams, fake order scams, fake delivery scams, and fake website scams.

from Sen. Floyd Prozanski

Every year, the holidays draw millions of buyers looking to score deals, compete for hot products, and cross names off their shopping lists. Oregon’s Attorney General is warning that if a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Gift Card Scam

In this scam, an online store will ask that you pay using a gift card. If this happens, it should raise big red flags. Gift cards are often utilized by cyber-criminals to steal your money because these types of purchases cannot be tracked, and it is impossible to get your money back. Treat gift cards like cash, never giving out your gift card number or PIN, and using them only with the issuing merchant. For example, you’d use a Target gift card at a Target store or on the company’s website.

Fake Order Scam

Phishing is one of the oldest tricks in the book, but modern-day phishing attacks have become more sophisticated. In the fake order scam, con artists will send cryptic text messages or unsolicited emails to notify you of a “problem” with your online order.

But you never ordered anything! They want you to click the link in the phishing e-mail, which leads to a website asking for your banking credentials or other sensitive information, which they can use to commit other frauds. These emails are designed to appear like they came from a legitimate sender, like Amazon or Walmart. Please look out for these and don’t fall for them.

Fake Delivery Scam

Phishing attacks go a step further in this scheme, as criminals will send fake delivery notifications by text or email. Usually, these notifications are disguised to be from FedEx, UPS, or the U.S. Postal Service. Just like the fake order phishing scam, you’ll be invited to click a link to accept your delivery, where they’ll steal your personally identifying information.

Fake Website Scam

Cyber-criminals are setting up imitation websites of popular online stores. These copycat websites look exactly like the official retailer, and the untrained eyes of an average consumer can easily fall for the trap. When making online purchases, you should always receive an order confirmation with a tracking number. But in this scam, you won’t, then the package never arrives. When you attempt to contact the seller for help, you learn they have disappeared. If you have unsuspectingly made an online purchase from a fake retail website, criminals may have stolen your credit card information and other personal details, and you should contact your credit card and/or bank immediately.

To avoid falling victim to one or more of these scams, be sure to shop wisely and protect your personal information online. If you have fallen victim, be sure to report it to the Oregon Department of Justice online at or by phone at 1-877-877-9392.

Beginning January 1, Senate District 4 will shift from an urban-rural district to a more urban district. The vast majority of the district, which I’ll represent, will be within the city boundaries of Eugene and Springfield. It also includes limited rural areas between Eugene and Cottage Grove, but not Creswell.

I hope this information is helpful and informative for you or someone you know. As always, feel free to share your comments, questions or concerns with me by e-mail, phone at (503) 986-1704, or mail to PO Box 11511, Eugene, OR 97440.

Please stay healthy and safe this holiday season. Remember to check ODOT’s for road conditions and traffic information if you’re traveling around Oregon.

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Whole Community News