BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - If you shop online or use your phone to look up items on Amazon, there’s a good chance you have seen ads for similar items appear on your Facebook or Instagram feeds.
It’s no secret that companies are tracking your online shopping habits. They are trying to hone in on what you really want to buy, and scammers are too.
There’s a new report that shows scammers are targeting victims through their social media profiles.
They searched through data on hundreds of millions of fraudulent online purchases and found a nearly 300 percent increase in the number of fake retail websites created to get your personal information.
Here’s how the scam works: when you see an ad appear on your social media profile then you click on it, you might add a couple of items to your cart. When you go to purchase those items, you will need to enter your personal information and your credit or debit card number.
Cybercriminals will take that information and run up charges as fast as they can. If you become a victim, contact your bank immediately and report the fraudulent charges.
To avoid being scammed, avoid clicking on the targeted ads altogether. Instead, go directly to the company’s verified retail website to shop for the specific item you’re looking for and purchase it there.
Here’s another tip: avoid using your debit card when you shop online.
If you use a credit card the company should cover any fraudulent charges but if you use a debit card it could take days or weeks for your bank to conduct an investigation to return your money.