A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

AG: Christmas scammers posing as retailers use fake emails to steal personal and financial information

Attorney General Andy Beshear warns that Kentuckians shopping online this Christmas season should be on the lookout for scam emails.

An example of a fake email message provided by the Office of the Attorney General (Click to enlarge).

With Christmas shopping in full swing, and the National Retail Federation predicting spending to increase by more than 4 percent this season, Kentuckians say they are receiving what appear to be legitimate emails from popular retailers that are actually scams.

The scam email is often personalized and includes a logo of a retailer such as PayPal, Apple or Amazon, and instructs the receiver to resolve an issue with their online account or order by reentering their bank, credit card or Social Security numbers.

Beshear said it is sad that con artists take advantage of the Christmas season to trick folks into handing over their personal and financial information.

“I want Kentuckians to enjoy the Christmas season and not end up checking off a con artist’s Christmas wish list,” said Beshear. “Kentuckians should always take the time to scrutinize every email and financial transaction closely, especially throughout the Christmas shopping season.”

Beshear said Kentuckians should also be wary of emails, apps and social media posts that offer too good to be true deals, discounts and sales, as those offers could be a ploy to collect information. To spot a scam email, website or app Kentuckians should:

• Watch for misspelled words.

• Avoid clicking on email hyperlinks. Always independently type in the actual retailer website and sign in.

• Pay attention to the sender’s email address. Scam emails are often from an email address that looks very similar to an official company account, but may have a couple of letters or words that are different.

Beshear asked Kentuckians to report these types of email scams to the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection hotline at 888-432-9257 and complete an online report.

Staff in Beshear’s Office of Senior Protection and Mediation also recommends that Kentuckians contact the legitimate company to report the email scam.

One of Beshear’s top priorities is to protect Kentucky families, especially seniors, from scams, abuse and exploitation. To help Kentuckians stay up to date on new and trending scams, Beshear urges everyone to sign up to receive Scam Alerts from his office.

To receive text message alerts, text the words KYOAG Scam to GOV311 (468-311) or enroll online at ag.ky.gov/scams and select either text message or email alerts.

Office of the Attorney General

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