Experts share tips to help Coloradans avoid online holiday shopping scams

Heather Willard

Heather Willard / NewsBreak Denver / Nov. 21, 2022

(Colorado) Be on the lookout for online shopping scams this holiday season. A new study from Social Catfish shows that Coloradans are especially susceptible to scams — with state residents experiencing the 16th most online shopping scams per resident.

With Americans expected to spend over $200 billion online this year, scammers will be out in full force looking to take advantage of unsuspecting shoppers.

So do your research and be sure you know who you're dealing with before you make any online purchases.

Social Catfish warns consumers will be more vulnerable to scams due to soaring inflation, leading shoppers to seek the lowest prices possible.

The company found a direct correlation between the growth of online shopping sales and losses from online shopping scams over the last five years, releasing a list of States with the Most Online Shopping Scams after analyzing 2022 data from the Federal Trade Commission and FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center.

The Federal Trade Commission reported that over 5.7 million Americans lost a record $5.9 billion to all online scams in 2021. Online shopping scams resulted in the most complaints filed with the FTC, except for imposter scams. Nearly 400,000 victims lost $392 million while shopping online last year with each victim losing an average of $150.

Colorado residents filed the 16th most online shopping scam complaints with the FTC last year, with 77.6 per 100,000.

The top five states for online shopping scam complaints are New Hampshire, Vermont, Washington, Oregon and Virginia. The bottom five are Rhode Island, Kansas, Illinois, Louisiana and Texas.

Social Catfish warned of five common scams consumers might encounter while searching for Black Friday deals.

Gaming consoles: Scammers advertise low prices on popular gaming consoles online, such as Nintendo Switch. The link takes you to a look-alike website of major brands. Any gifts will never arrive. Triple-check URL spellings before browsing.

Gift cards: Although shoppers can save money by purchasing gift cards from resale sites like, scammers are on these sites selling gift cards that arrive with no balance. Protect your wallet by purchasing gift cards directly from trusted, known brands.

Holiday puppies: Scammers create a website or social media post with a photo of an adorable puppy on sale for the holidays. They request payment via wire transfer, gift card or phone application like Venmo and promise to ship the puppy right away, but no pups are delivered. Check the veracity of the postings through a reverse search and research breeders on

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. Avoid these links by tracking packages on the official UPS, USPS or FedEx websites.

Secondhand online sellers: Many younger consumers buy discounted holiday gifts from online secondhand stores such as The RealReal and Poshmark. Scammers offer deals for off-app payments via gift cards or cash apps. Most resale sites have solid security policies if you pay within the app.

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Public safety reporter in DougCo, Denver metro. Previously: Pueblo Chieftain public safety reporter, Athens Messenger associate editor. Caffeine fiend, cat mom and lover of all things spooky.

Broomfield, CO

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