Editor's Note - It's that time of year again. This year's holiday season will like bring record online shopping and with it a level of risk. In addition to all that we write and report about making sure your computers and networks are secure, there now are dubious online "retailers" who continue to find new ways to scam consumers. Here's a report from the Better Business Bureau.
This holiday shopping season, be on the lookout for a new scam technique. As shoppers become wary of paying by wire transfer and pre-paid debit card, scammers are trying something new. They are requesting victims purchase and pay with gift cards.
How the Scam Works:
You are shopping online and discover a website that sells flat screen TVs, computers, cameras and other big ticket items for deeply discounted prices. You do some research, and find a few reviews from satisfied customers. The price is so great, you decide to give it a try.
During checkout, the site instructs you to purchase an Amazon gift card and use the gift card information as payment. The site may claim that this unorthodox form of payment helps you save paying sales tax.
No matter what the website says, don't do it! The site -- and the good reviews -- are all fake. Paying by gift card is just like wiring money, using a pre-paid debit card, or paying cash; it's untraceable. You will be out the money spent on the gift card, and the item you purchased will never arrive.