SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – It’s a dangerous time of year for consumers as online criminals try to take advantage during the holiday season.

For the 2022 holiday season, online shopping has reached all time highs with record breaking numbers during Black Friday and Cyber Monday. While shopping from home is easy, it can put you at higher risk for online schemes.

“We need to be mindful and slow down and really take a close look at these before taking action,” said Nancy Cahalen, President of the Better Business Bureau (BBB) in Central New England.

BBB found that 40 percent of online schemes during 2021 were from shopping online, including shipping schemes such as posing as USPS and asking the recipient to click a link and ‘update shipping information.’

“We don’t have the spam messaging that we have on email which is one of the reasons why these types of reasons these communications have moved from email to text,” said Cahalen.

The Better Business Bureau offers the following tips for consumers:

  • Research before you buy, one way to do this is by reading shopper reviews.
  • Beware of fake websites by checking URL’s. Bad grammar and misspellings can be indicators.
  • Be cautious of what form of payment you use. BBB found that those who paid using digital wallets and other non traditional forms of payment were more likely to lose money.
  • Social media can seem like a convenient place to shop when in reality, it’s become an easy way for criminals to steal your money.

“If an item is readily available online and at a reduced price, well that is way too good to be true. Chances are its not true and its a scam,” said Calahen.