Christmas scams are on the rise, and the FBI has issued a warning about what you should never do when buying gifts.

THOUSANDS of seasonal scams are expected over the Christmas season, according to the FBI, which advises consumers to be cautious when shopping online.

Scammers are gearing up for their busiest season of the year, as shoppers stock up on gifts ahead of the holiday season, with more than dollar53 million lost to scams last Christmas.

The FBI and the Better Business Bureau are warning shoppers to be cautious this holiday season, as scammers are expected to target you for your hard-earned cash, personal information, and festive spirit.

More than 17,000 complaints of non-delivery of goods were received by the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center last year, resulting in losses of more than $53 million during the 2020 holiday season.

Non-delivery and non-payment crimes are the two most common holiday scams.

A non-delivery scam occurs when a buyer pays for goods or services found online but never receives them.

A non-payment scam entails the delivery of goods or services but no payment to the seller.

You should never wire money or use gift cards to make a purchase, according to the FBI.

"Try paying with a credit card," said FBI Public Affairs Officer Christina Garza.

"However, if someone asks you to pay with a gift card, Bitcoin, or cryptocurrency, that's a big red flag."

"Make sure it's a legitimate web link; instead of clicking a link you see in an email or a text message from someone, or even in a social media ad, do some research on your own."

"Every year, thousands of people become victims of different holiday scams, and these scammers will take your money or your personally identifiable information," said FBI forensic accountant Brian Koechner, based in Kansas City.

"This holiday season, remember that if something seems too good to be true, it probably is."

Non-payment or non-delivery scams cost people more than $265 million, according to the Internet Crime Complaint Center's (IC3) 2020 report.

Another 129 million dollars was lost due to credit card fraud.

"I would just say be vigilant, being very careful not to be impulsive and not to purchase things on impulse," Claudia Massie, President of the Brazos Valley Adult Protective Services Board, added.

While Katie Galan, Regional Director of the Better Business Bureau, advised buyers to be aware of where they are ordering from.

"If you're looking at virtual purchases, dummy sites are something we see a lot of during the holiday season," she said.

"It's really a good rule of thumb, especially during the holiday season, to just stick with the retailers you already know and trust."

Dummy sites are websites that appear to be legitimate but are in fact fraudulent, phony, or scams.

If you've been scammed, the FBI also advises you to contact law enforcement, regardless of how much money you've lost.

The FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center can help you report a scam.

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