Holiday scam artists use a fake website with a Mississippi address to con people across the country out of money. MPB's Desare Frazier reports.
John O' Hara with the Better Business Bureau of Mississippi says the fake website looked real to people who clicked on a Facebook ad. People could order handmade quilts for $48 to $67 from a company called ECrafta in Wesson, Mississippi. But O'Hara says there is no such company and people never received their orders. He says Mississippians ordered quilts from a fake online shop listed as being in Tacoma, Washington. He says it's difficult to track the culprits of these scams.
"Most of these will be from out of the country. So it's hard for people to get their money back. Instead of a credit card they are asking you to buy a gift card and apply that information to that site," said O'Hara.
O'Hara says never use gift cards to pay for items online. He says use a credit card so the issuer can stop payment or credit your account. This holiday season, con artists are looking for ways to beat people out of their money. O'Hara says avoid buying gift cards openly displayed. People can take pictures of the numbers cover them back up and wait for the card to be activated. Bridgette Wiggins is with the state attorney general's office. She's getting complaints ahead of the tax season that the Internal Revenue Service is calling people, telling them they have a tax bill.
"We do find that some consumers are scared into making these types of payments but most time they ask for these payments in the form of some type of gift card an I-Tunes gift card a Walmart gift card. That should be an immediate red flag," said Wiggins.
Wiggins says the IRS doesn't call people they send letters. She offers some tips for shoppers: shop at trusted stores, park in well-lit areas, put purchases in the trunk, and check credit card and bank statements.