RALEIGH, NC (WNCN) – If you’re looking for that hard-to-get gift this holiday season, beware of those who say they can get it for you right now.
Supply chain shortages have opened up a whole new world of scams.
Those who track these things say that crooks do everything from building fake websites claiming to have hard-to-get articles, to texting and emailing or even making phone calls to people saying, ” I can get what you are looking for. “
As the desperation for Christmas presents sets in, many people fall for the con artists.
Take the PlayStation 5 and the XBox Series X. These are two of the hottest giveaways this year, but try to find them – you can’t.
“We’re paying more than the retail business to try and buy them,” electronics dealer Rodney Spriggs said. “We have no chance of trying to buy them from anyone.”
With the huge backlog of goods from overseas creating a shortage that spills over into warehouses and shipments, scammers seized the opportunity to offer non-existent goods.
“They contact by email, text or social media,” said Nick Biasini, Cisco Talos cyber threat researcher.
“People will tweet – they will try to find stock – and these people will respond and say, ‘I have stock’, but they don’t. They are just crooks, ”added Biasini.
Many scammers will then charge prices four or five times higher than in regular retail. Once they get you hooked, you’ll spend more and more money on fakes.
“You can see things like extra fees, finder’s fees, and fraudulent shipping fees,” Biasini said. “This is all used as a way to increase the amount of money they take out. “
Many of these scammers often set up bogus websites to block their non-existent products.
Biasini says one of the best things to protect yourself from scam websites is to be skeptical.
“Buying from a big box retailer will give you more certainty about the product you are getting,” he said.
You should also be wary of anyone asking you to pay for your purchase with cash or any form of wired currency on the various cash sending apps.
“These bad guys are well versed in this stuff,” Biasini said.
Once the money has gone into a wire transfer, it will be very difficult to get it back.
Here are some tips to protect yourself:
- Only use a credit card (as they offer a recourse to get your funds back if things go wrong)
- Beware of emails making promises
- Don’t give out your phone number to anyone who promises to be hard to find a product
“They will call you on the phone and try to get you money that way,” Biasini warned.
Scammers know that if they can speak to you in person, they are more likely to convince you to part with your money than to simply rely solely on the internet.