Office of the Attorney General
AG Conway Encourages Consumers to be Vigilant of Online Scams on Cyber Monday

Press Release Date:  Monday, December 01, 2014  
Contact Information:  Daniel Kemp
Deputy Communications Director
502-696-5659 (office)
 


FRANKFORT, Ky. -- With the holiday shopping season underway, Attorney General Jack Conway is urging Kentucky consumers to be vigilant of seasonal scams and identity theft.  Millions of consumers turn to their smart phones, tablets and computers for their holiday shopping needs, which has cybercriminals and hackers working overtime to exploit unsuspecting shoppers for their credit card and financial information.

"Keeping consumers safe from scams and unscrupulous business practices is one of my top priorities as your Attorney General," Attorney General Conway said.  "During the holiday shopping season, I encourage you to be alert when keying in your personal information and making purchases over the Internet.  Shoppers should be leery of pop-up ads or text messages offering products such as iPads or gift cards for free or at heavily discounted rates.  Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.  Consumers who fall victim to online scams risk having their financial information compromised and identity stolen."

Many scammers use a technique called "phishing" to gain access to someone’s secure information, and seasonal phishing scams often come disguised as online shopping advertisements or credit-card applications.  This is often done through emails, pop-up ads or text messages that may contain links to websites infected with malware, enabling a scammer to locate user names, passwords, Social Security numbers and other personal data.

Taking a few proactive steps can help keep you safe when shopping online this holiday season:

• Only do business with companies you know and trust and that offer secure payment processing.  Look for websites that start with https (the "s" stands for secure).
• Avoid doing online shopping on unsecured wireless networks, such as places with public and free Wi-Fi.
• Set strong passwords and change them often.
• Keep personal information private. Don't disclose your address, phone number, Social Security number or bank account information to a stranger.
• Never respond to pop-up ads that ask for your personal or financial information.
• Never do business with someone who insists that you wire money.
• Avoid storing credit card information online.
• To protect yourself against seasonal phishing scams, verify the communication by calling the company or by logging into your account directly from the business's website.
• Using credit cards while shopping online can offer extra protection. Consider designating one credit card with a lower credit limit for online purchases.
• When buying a gift card, only buy from reputable sources that you know and trust. Consumers should avoid buying gift cards from online auction or "for sale" listing sites, as they can be counterfeit.

If you are the victim of a consumer scam, help is available by contacting the Office of the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Hotline at 1-888-432-9257 or by visiting ag.ky.gov/civil/consumerprotection.

You can follow Attorney General Conway on Twitter @kyoag, visit the Attorney General’s Facebook page or view videos on our YouTube channel.