More Mississippians are likely to log on to a computer to purchase gifts this holiday season, than in years past. But the increased convenience of online shopping also comes with increased chance of being ripped-off.
Last year, Americans spent more than $616 billion during the holiday season. With so much money up for grabs, consumers are being warned to protect themselves from potential scammers.
John O'Hara is with the Better Business Bureau of Mississippi. He says people need to be especially careful when they are purchasing anything online.
"More and more people, year-over-year, are doing business, buying items, over the internet," O'hara says. "Last year we saw a spike in complaints about consumers who had purchased items over the internet. Paid for them, [and] didn't get them. Get them late. Didn't quite get what they thought they were buying. So the biggest thing is really to look at these online websites."
Online shopping accounted for roughly one-sixth of last year's total holiday spending.
Meredith Aldridge is the Director of the Consumer Protection Division of the Attorney General's office.
"You want to look for signs that the website might be primed for scammers. You might notice grammatical errors. Links that don't work. It might say 'click here to purchase,' and then it takes you to an error screen or redirects you somewhere else. That is an indicator that that might not be a trustworthy site. It might not be a site that you want to use to shop."
If Mississippians feel like they have been the victim of a scam they are encouraged to report it to the Attorney General's Office.