Attorney Mary Pool This year many people are ordering gifts through online companies to avoid long lines at the retail stores. This method certainly can save time and help to avoid stress but there are many online scams that we need to avoid. I have a few tips to help you avoid such scams:

1) Make sure you know exactly who you are ordering from and what you are ordering.
There are many reputable sites to order from but there are some sites designed to look like the reputable sites but when you look in the website address bar, it is NOT the reputable company name but instead an imposter company trying to get your financial data. This is most rampant when you click on ads shown on Facebook or other websites. You should not see another company’s name in the address bar. Some people make the mistake to just look for the https at the beginning of a website address to make sure their financial information placed on the order form is secure but even scam companies can insure the https.

2) Do not agree to wire money to get a deal.
If you receive an email with a special offer but you have to wire a certain amount of funds to receive the discount then it is more than likely a scam. Remember when you wire funds to someone or an entity, it is the same as sending cash so your bank cannot retrieve the funds back if it ends up being a scam.

3) Read your monthly statements
It is important if you do a lot of ordering online that you pay attention to each charge on your monthly billing statement. Some companies have automatic renewals in the fine print that you may not have noticed that you were agreeing to when you placed your initial order. If you see a charge that you didn’t authorize, dispute it immediately.
Last year around this time, my credit card that I used to make all of my holiday purchases was hit for a $100 charge that showed it was from Starbucks. Upon research, the charge was not actually from Starbucks at all but a company that had grabbed my credit card data from one of the companies that I ordered from last year. Fortunately, I noticed the charge immediately and my credit card company refunding the money and investigated the charge.

4) Don’t reply to email messages that are asking for your personal and financial information, even it appears to be coming from a financial institution.
No financial institution will ever send you an email asking for you to confirm your account numbers. If you receive an email asking for you to provide personal or financial information and you respond to the email then the requester now knows that have a valid email address. Therefore, do not respond to these types of emails.

I hope that these tips will help you avoid various scams. At Bond & Botes, we hope that your holiday seasons will be filled with joy and peace.

Mary Pool
Written by Mary Pool

Mary Pool is a shareholder of the Bond & Botes Law Offices in Montgomery and Opelika, Alabama. She holds a Bachelor of Science from Auburn University at Montgomery, and a Juris Doctorate from Faulkner University’s Jones School of Law. She has represented thousands of clients over her more than 11 years working in the bankruptcy field. Read her full bio here.

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