BAY COUNTY, Fla (WMBB) — Cyber Monday is known for its online deals, but it’s also becoming a holiday for scammers.
Bay County Sheriff’s investigators say they see as many as 400 reported cases in a given year.
Scams that come in the form of emails often have key indicators.
“Typically grammar is kind of off track,” Bay County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigation Supervisor Corporal Aubrey Chance said. Also, the sending address linked with the content, so sometimes it doesn’t match, the end will be .net or .edu or something strange that doesn’t seem to add up to the kind of email you’re getting.”
Corporal Chance also warns to be wary of emails or text messages that contain hyperlinks.
“You’re going to look for the web address, which will start with “HTTPS”. If it starts with “HTTP” that is typically an indicator that it’s not a secure website,” Chance said.
When in doubt, the safest course of action is to go directly to the website itself.
The Sheriff’s Office also said that when you’re shopping on online marketplaces, avoid sending money to sellers before meeting them in person.
“If it’s something that you’re going to be purchasing locally, they will meet you locally,” Chance said. “If it’s a genuine purchase or a genuine sale, if it’s not, then there will always be a reason as to why they can’t or why they need money to meet you or whatever the circumstances.”
But even when taking precautions, scams will still happen.
Sheriff’s office officials stress the importance of reporting the scam immediately if you are a victim.
“Unfortunately, a lot of people get embarrassed and they don’t necessarily know that they have fallen victim to a scam, and so they don’t report it to local authorities for weeks to months,” Chance said.
When authorities know about cases quickly, they have a better chance of resolving them.