HELENA - Folks planning to do holiday shopping online need to keep an eye out for scammers who looking to get personal information.
You click buy, enter your credit card information and the package arrives at your door. That's how it should work, but scammers are creating fake shopping sites.
"Scammers are looking for personal information so they modify possibly an existing website and try and use that information, try to get the personal information from the individual or charge their credit card for a purchase they never receive,” said Marcus Meyers with the Montana Office of Consumer Protection.
A survey by the National Retail Federation shows that for the first time most consumers plan to make holiday purchases online. Scammers know that too, but there are things you can do to protect yourself.
First off, look at the top of your web browser for "https" which verifies a secure connection between your computer and the retailer's website. Also, be sure to look around the page and see if anything seems out of place, “use sites that they're familiar with because if they're doing searches, those searches for a particular product or service, it may link them to a fraudulent site,” Meyers advised.
He added that's not the only thing these swindlers are doing, “we see from time to time on those auction sites where they'll sell a target gift card or amazon gift card at a discounted price and then you find out that it's not the card itself."
If it's too late and you think you've already fallen victim to a scammer, you can enable fraud alerts on your credit. In extreme cases, you can also put a security freeze on your credit."
The Office of Consumer Protection says you should continually monitor bank statements to look for anything out of the ordinary. If you do find fraudulent charges, report them to your bank.