Crime

FBI warns against potential scams ahead of holiday shopping season

Texas residents lost nearly $800 million to scammers last year, according to data from the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center.

Texas residents lost nearly $800 million to scammers last year, according to FBI data.

The FBI is warning people to be wary of potential scams ahead of the holiday shopping season.

According to FBI data, Texas residents lost nearly $800 million to scammers last year through efforts like phishing or fake charities. In an effort to reduce the number of Texans who may fall victim to such scams this year, the FBI recommends:

  • Securing all financial accounts with strong passwords;
  • Never giving personal information— such as your date of birth, home address, social security number or bank account and credit card numbers to anyone you do not know;
  • Being wary of online transactions that solely require wire transfers, virtual currency or gift cards;
  • Not using public internet connections to make online purchases;
  • Verifying that charities have a valid taxpayer identification number prior to donating to any charity.

Connor Hagan, FBI Houston's public affairs officer, says shoppers should be skeptical when it comes to deals or sales that seem too good to be true.

MORE: The FBI discusses holiday scams on Houston Matters

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“Criminals know that now is the time where parents and loved ones are looking to buy gifts for family members and friends,” Hagan said.

If a person encounters a potential scam, Hagan recommends reporting it to the the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center to help investigators build an airtight legal case against reported scammers.