TUCSON, Ariz. - These days, a lot of us love the convenience of doing things online, especially during the holidays. But if you're not careful, you could become a scam victim.
Arizonans lost millions of dollars in online scams this year, and more than $19 million in business and email compromises alone.
FBI Special Agent Michael Foster says criminals take your money by using a sense of urgency to get you to act fast.
"They demand information and/or money, and they say it's urgent," Foster said. "Your bank account is going to be shut down, your credit card is going to be turned off. Something is going to happen to your loved one, or your personal data."
But he says it's a trap. Verification is key before you hit reply. Often times, scammers are posing as a coworker, your employer, or even a business associate, Foster says.
"Call that person on the other end to say, 'Did you send this request? Did you really want to do this?'" Foster said.
This year, there hasn't been much of a change in the number of Internet crime victims, but the amount of money that's being stolen is going up. Foster says criminals are targeting financial institutions or your down payment on a home.
Confidence and romance fraud, as well as extortion, were also popular scams this year.
If you get an urgent email or phone call demanding money or personal information, Foster says to really think before you send anything.
"By taking those five to 10 seconds to think about it, can save you a lot of money," Foster said.
|Business email, email compromise||$19,131,668|
|Confidence fraud, romance||$7,188,437|
|Credit card fraud||$2,095,949|
|Harassment, threats of violence||682|
|Credit card fraud||429|