In a recent initiative to safeguard the public from increasing holiday scams, the FBI Springfield is urging citizens to stay vigilant against vindictive fraudsters seeking both money and personal information. Special Agent in Charge David Nanz emphasized the evolving tactics employed by scammers, urging individuals to exercise caution and conduct due diligence to thwart their efforts.
The FBI's 2022 Internet Crime Report revealed alarming statistics, with 14,786 Illinoisans falling victim to scams, resulting in a staggering $266.7 million in losses. Social media platforms are identified as breeding grounds for scams, particularly those disguised as holiday promotions or contests, leading unsuspecting users to participate in surveys designed to steal personal information.
The agency cautions against downloading mobile apps from unknown sources, especially those disguised as games, as they can lead to the theft of sensitive information. Various scams, including non-payment/non-delivery, investment, work-from-home, gift card, and charity scams, share common traits such as enticing offers, requests for swift action, and payment through nontraditional means like gift cards or quick payment transfer services.
To minimize the risk of falling victim to scams, the FBI recommends routine credit card statement checks, purchasing from reputable online sources, and exercising caution with website security claims. Additionally, individuals are advised not to respond to unsolicited emails, avoid clicking on links within emails, and refrain from providing personal information through email forms.
The FBI stresses the importance of donating only to known and trusted charities, securing credit card accounts with strong passwords, and remaining skeptical of exaggerated claims of earnings or profits.
The public is encouraged to contact their financial institutions immediately if they believe they are victims of scams, report incidents to law enforcement, and file complaints with the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center at IC3.gov or by contacting the FBI Springfield at 217-522-9675. For more information on holiday scams and protective measures, the public can visit the FBI's official website at FBI.gov.