EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU) — Popular shopping days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday have grown into their own holidays for shoppers nationwide.
With the growing popularity of those shopping days is a growing number of shopping scams as thousands of people have their personal information and credit cards stolen every year.
When swiping your credit card the thought of being scammed rarely crosses the mind of shoppers.
But in 2021 alone, scams cost people more than $337,000,000, according to the internet crime complaint center.
“With the technology advancing, the scams are going to advance also.”
Trooper Anthony Petroski with the Pennsylvania State Police tells Eyewitness News they get reports of people falling victim to a scam almost daily, especially around the holiday season.
“Now with a lot of the cyber shopping, online shopping, now we’re teaching them about, ‘hey, look at your payments on your credit card.’ Look to see where the payments were made. If it wasn’t you, contact your credit card, and put a freeze on it.”
Trooper Petroski says a popular scam is taking people’s credit card information through the use of a skimming device that is found inside machines like an ATM or gas pump meant to copy the card information when swiped.
Another common scam around this time of year is suspicious links sent through email that pose as non-threatening websites.
“Go to that website directly and if the sale is not on the website, it’s not going to be legit because a lot of times it’s just a fake website and they want you to input your credit card information and now the scammers have it to use for whatever they want.”
If you plan to participate in person for Black Friday shopping, state police also say to not put empty boxes outside or post your gifts on social media.
“If you did get that new TV, either cut it into smaller pieces or fold it inside out so you’re not advertising that you just got a brand new 75-inch TV because to a criminal that means, ‘hey, I want to steal that,” Petroski says.
If you believe you fell victim to a scam, immediately call your credit card company or bank to report it and you can also contact your local law enforcement.
State police say the most important reminder is to stay vigilant to protect you and your wallet this holiday season.