FOX59 investigates online holiday deals too good to be true

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INDIANAPOLIS — It’s hard to believe there are only 18 shopping days or so until Christmas Day. There are deals galore but some are just too good to be true.

It can be difficult to spot a fake sale, but cyber security experts say spending a few extra minutes double-checking the item or the seller online can save your bank account.

Frank Myers thought he spotted the perfect Christmas decoration for his kitchen.

“We saw an ad on Facebook and were so excited to see that it was so inexpensive,” Myers said.

Myers clicked purchase and thought the Santa would ship from the company purportedly selling it in Ohio.

“Once the package came, it was clearly marked that it was from China,” Myers said.

Myers said he knew immediately it wasn’t the jolly 5.5 foot statue he ordered.

“You’re expecting a box on your porch and you receive this little envelope – it’s like, okay,” Myers said.

Myers isn’t the only person who received an unpleasant surprise when the delivered decorations looked different than advertised. Our FOX59 anchor Daniel Miller received two wreaths that looked much different than the online ad he saw. He still has the wreaths, but has not gotten his money back yet.

“Before you make a purchase, it’s always good, just by default, to put in that product to a search engine, even one like Google to see how is this product being sold, how much is it being sold by other vendors,” Scott Shackelford, the chair of Indiana University’s Cybersecurity Risk Management Program, said. “And if nothing else, make sure to use a payment method that’s trusted, and you can reverse.”

Shackelford said using a debit card makes getting your money back much harder. For any account, Shackelford advises people to set up multi-factor authentication.

“That extra email, text message, to affirm a transaction before money goes out the door because again, it’s just so hard to get back after the fact,” Shackelford said.

Shackelford notes those looking to take advantage of others are busy this time of year. He says you should use strong passwords each time you create an account, and always opt not to store your card information.

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