Tyler Police Department gives tips to avoid shopping scams this holiday season

As people ramp up shopping for the holidays, criminals are ready to take advantage of those who let their guards down.
Published: Nov. 28, 2022 at 5:55 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 28, 2022 at 10:30 PM CST
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - As people ramp up shopping for the holidays, criminals are ready to take advantage of those who let their guards down.

“Just because it’s easy to get or easy to get rid of, doesn’t mean you need to stop your safety checks,” said Tyler Police Department Public Information Officer Andy Erbaugh.

The holiday season is a time of gift giving, increasing the number of online transactions. Erbaugh said buyers and sellers need to remain cautious so they are safe from holiday shopping scams. He said while these crimes aren’t that common, they do rise this time of year.

Erbaugh said when purchasing from businesses, confirm they are verified and legitimate before making a purchase. He also said, “make sure, number one, that you look at the sellers’ reviews.”

Erbaugh said when purchasing off Facebook Marketplace or other similar buy-sell-trade websites, to be safe when meeting someone. He said to meet during the day, in a populated area -- and avoid meeting at your home. He said use cash to prevent having your ID stolen.

“Just make sure that when you get there, you are comfortable with where you’re at,” said Erbaugh. “If you feel uncomfortable at all, with the seller or what you’re doing, then you can leave. It’s not that important.”

When ordering online, he said to ensure someone is available to bring delivered packages inside to avoid having them stolen by porch thieves. Erbaugh said this is one of the most common crimes they see this time of year.

“This is a happy time of year. We love the holidays. Don’t get taken advantage of, don’t get things stolen from you, make proper choices when you’re doing these things, and think about them,” said Erbaugh. “Don’t just, you know, go ahead and do without any thought. There is some thought that needs to go into this, about what you’re doing and how safe it is for your pocketbook and for your safety.”

The Tyler Police Department said if you have been defrauded or a victim of theft, to make a police report.

They said if a criminal scams one person, they have likely scammed many others as well.