News Department

New study: New Jersey No. 18 most at-risk for online shopping scams this holiday season

NEW JERSEY – A new study shows an unprecedented number of online shopping scams are expected this holiday season and New Jersey is the No. 18 most at-risk state.

A record 418,781 victims lost $394 million to online shopping scams nationally in 2021, up from 126,387 victims losing $94 million in 2017. Consumers are expected to spend a record $209.7 billion shopping online this holiday season. With inflation surging, consumers desperate for deals may be more susceptible to scams.

Social Catfish – a reverse search scam prevention company — released a study on Online Shopping Scams in America after analyzing data from the FTC and FBI IC3 released in 2022.

The FTC received 74.1 online shopping scam complaints per 100,000 New Jersey residents last year, the No. 18 highest rate in the nation.

Here are 5 online shopping scams to avoid this holiday season:

1. Fake Deals on Gaming Consoles: Scammers are advertising incredible deals for popular consoles such as XBOX and PlayStation on social media. Once you click the link, it takes you to a look-a-like website of a major brand. Any gifts purchased will never arrive.

How to Avoid: Triple check the spelling of the URL.  Fake sites are often one letter off.

2. Fake Gift Cards: Gift cards are a great holiday gift, and people can save money by purchasing gift cards from resale sites like However, scammers are on these sites selling gift cards that arrive with no balance.

How to Avoid: Do a reverse search before buying gift cards from another person to verify their identity.

3. Social Media Holiday Deals: Scammers are advertising holiday deals on sites like Instagram, Facebook and TikTok. Once you click on the link, it takes you to a look-a-like website of a major brand, however, it is fraudulent, and any gifts purchased will never arrive and credit card or bank information will be stolen.

How to Avoid: If the social media account claims to be from a major brand but has few followers it is a scam.

4. Fake Shipping Notifications: Scammers are capitalizing on the increased number of packages delivered during the holidays by emailing or texting a delivery notification with a “tracking link.” This is a phishing link used for identity theft.

How to Avoid: Only track packages on the official UPS, USPS, or FedEx website.

5. Secondhand Store Scams: Consumers, especially Millennials and Gen Z, are increasingly buying discounted holiday gifts from secondhand stores such as The RealReal and Poshmark. Scammers are on these sites offering amazing deals if you pay off the App via gift cards or cash apps.

How to Avoid: Most resale sites have solid security policies if you pay within the App.

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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