Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - The holidays are the busiest time for shoppers, but scammers can be even more active as they attempt to obtain your personal information so they can steal your identity and your money.

The Federal Trade Commission spoke to KGVO News about Online Scams

KGVO News spoke to Breena Roos, an attorney in the Seattle office of the Federal Trade Commission on Friday for tips on what to look for as the scammers will be out in force, on the phone and online.

“The holidays can be a busy time and also a busy time for scammers as well,” began Roos. “Holiday scams can include everything from spoofed online stores to fake shipping notifications or phishing emails to gift card scams, fake jobs, fraudulent charities, and even more."

Roos said online fraud perpetrators will often claim shipping or delivery problems while they take your money and disappear.

Scammers will Waste no Time Taking your Money and Disappearing

“We see a lot of online shopping scams,” she said. “Sometimes what you ordered isn't what you get. Maybe an item is different than what was advertised or maybe it's damaged, or worse, the item you ordered never arrived at all. The problem might be connected to bad business practice practices, or maybe it's a scam. Spotting these kinds of scams can be tricky. Scammers often pose as real companies online, or they make up fake companies, but their aim is always to try to get your money or your personal information.”

Roos was adamant about what to watch for when it is time for payment.

If a Company asks for Payment with a Gift Card or a Wire Transfer, It's a Scam

“Anytime any company asks you to pay via a gift card or via a wire transfer, those are red flags that you should think twice before agreeing,” she said. “Legitimate companies don't often ask consumers to pay them via a gift card or wire transfer.”

Roos provided important contact information for the Federal Trade Commission in you feel you have been scammed or defrauded.

You can report it at report fraud.ftc.gov. You can also sign up for consumer alerts here. If you sign up you'll get messages delivered to your email inbox so you can know about and share the latest scams.

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Gallery Credit: Mike Smith

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