Scammers are constantly looking for ways to steal money especially during the holiday season. Here are some tips to help Mississippians avoid rip-offs.
LeAnn Nealey of Ridgeland, is extremely cautious about shopping online and phone calls soliciting donations. She's received phoney-looking bank emails requesting her social security number and had her credit card number stolen several times. She checks her credit card statements closely.
"It's really bad because you just wonder how did they get it in the first place," said Nealey.
John O'Hara with the Better Business Bureau of Mississippi, says scammers use a variety of methods to steal money. Recently someone called Madison County residents asking for donations on behalf of the fire department. He says it was a scam. O'Hara says a Mississippi woman ordered hoverboards off a website out of China this week that turned out to be fake. She even received shipping notices with bogus tracking numbers. He urges people to check the BBB website to find out if the retailer is legitimate. O'Hara adds never make purchases on an unprotected Wifi site like those at coffee shops or restaurants.
"There are people who are sitting there who are collecting people's information. You should never be doing any sort of banking when you're on open wifi. You should never be doing any purchasing. Don't look at your accounts because that information can be stolen," said O'Hara.
People are also scrapping the numbers off the back of gift cards. They take pictures of them, put them back and wait for shoppers to activate them.
"And once that card gets activated they spend it. You give that card to someone. They go to use it. There's no balance on it," said O'Hara.
O'Hara says always use a credit card for purchases because consumers are more likely to get the money back. Avoid unusual payment requests like Money Gram or a Green Dot Card, it's the same as wiring money with no guarantee the order will be shipped.