Alberta RCMP says to shop smart this holiday season

Whether you’re keen to get started on your holiday shopping, or you’re a last minute shopper, it’s important not to let your guard down.

An Edmonton-area woman was recently victimized while shopping for ready-made Christmas trees from an international vendor on a seemingly reputable, well-designed website.

Cpl. Sean Milne with the RCMP’s Financial Crime Team, says the scammers went the extra mile — paying for Google optimization.

“The way Google does their searches, the more linked your website is to the rest of the Internet, the higher it is you’ll show up in the search results,” he explained.

The victim was then directed to a page asking her to e-transfer cash to a bank account, and it wasn’t long before she realized she was out hundreds of dollars.

“Don’t rely on the fact that it shows the icons of known brands or known consumer relatiions businesses, because anybody can just throw those up as a graphic,” Milne said.

He suggests doing a background check by adding the word ‘scam’ to the website’s name in the search bar to see if the company has a track record.

“If you’re going to do the online shopping, looking for something a little more rare, you’re going to want to go directly to that vendor’s site and access it through there, not some link you find on the Internet,” Milne added.

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