The holiday shopping season doesn’t begin in earnest in the United States and many other places around the world until later this month. In the United States, the day after Thanksgiving, often referred to as Black Friday is the unofficial start to the holiday shopping season which this year appears to be one that will be done primarily through online shopping due largely to the continuing Coronavirus pandemic. Scammers are constantly changing their tactics to trick you out of your money when shopping. Often we can learn what those scams might look like by looking at scams involved with Singles Day which is a Chinese holiday which celebrates people not in relationships and is the biggest online shopping day in the world. This year, Singles Day occurred on November 11th and a new scam being perpetrated this year involves a phone call from a scammer posing as a customer service employee from a company with which you have done online shopping who informs you that your recent purchase is unavailable for a variety of reasons including the item being out of stock. The phony customer service employee scammer then tells you that to compensate you for your trouble they are refunding your full purchase price and adding a few dollars more to the refund as an apology for the problem. Then comes the hook. You are then asked for your bank account information so that the sweetened refund can be sent directly to your bank account. Unfortunately, there are no refunds and anyone providing their bank account information to the scammer will soon find their bank account looted.
As always, whenever you get a phone call, you can never be sure who is actually calling you. Through a technique called spoofing, scammers can manipulate your Caller ID so that the call appears to come from whomever the scammer wants to appear as. In this particular scam, your Caller ID may appear as if the call is coming from Amazon or some other online retailer. Never give personal information such as your bank account information or Social Security number to anyone who calls you unless you have absolutely confirmed that the call is legitimate. In this case, you should hang up on the caller and if you think there is any possible legitimacy to the call, you should call the online retailer where you have shopped to confirm that this is a scam. Additionally, any company with which you have shopped online should already have your credit card number on record and could merely make the promised payment back to your credit card. As I have advised you many times, you should not use your debit card for anything other than an ATM card because you get much better protection from fraud when you use your credit card.