Holiday shopping, like most shopping these days, has moved online.  And while in many ways it’s more convenient, on-line shopping also means unique risks, that according to a new AARP survey.  AARP’s Sean Voskuhl said more than 75% of American consumers reported that they have experienced fraud.  Voskuhl added a similar share of consumers failed a nine-question safe shopping quiz.


“Online shopping is popular and may be more convenient for rural residents," Voskuhl noted.  "But our survey shows you must be diligent when shopping online. Specific threats include online shopping scams, gift cards with zero balances and stolen packages. When shopping online, visit sites you know and trust, and avoid clicking on offers for deep discounts on those hot items.”


Most U.S. consumers will purchase a gift card for someone this holiday season.  And while these gifts are easy to give and popular to get, Voskuhl said gift cards are also open to fraud.


“Your best bet may be to buy gift cards online directly from the issuer. Cards on store racks are easy prey for criminals, who can grab the cards, secretly record the numbers off the back and return the cards to the rack. When you get a gift card, check the balance and take a picture of it, register it if you can, and use it sooner rather than later.”


Voskuhl added the holidays are a good time talk about avoiding scams with your loved ones.


“Holiday gatherings also provide an opportunity to talk about financial exploitation with our loved ones and discuss what they can do or are doing to protect themselves and their money. Above all, respect their right for your older loved ones to make their own decisions as they are cognitively able, but leave the lines of communication open.”


If you have a story idea for the PNW Ag Network, call (509) 547-9791, or e-mail 

More From 610 KONA