SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Check out the holiday shopping and you see happy people buying wonderful gifts. Go online and you get the same vibe, but it is more treacherous.
Special agent in charge of the FBI San Francisco field office, Robert Tripp, explains why: "Scammers love anonymity, and they like ready cash, and the internet unfortunately offers both of those things to scammers."
Special Agent Tripp says when shopping online it is important to know the seller.
"We see a lot of the simplest kind of scam that you can think of, the non-delivery scam," Tripp says. "Somebody's out there shopping for gifts for their family. They'll see an incredible offer, either in an email that they receive unsolicited or online. They'll pay money for what they think is going to be a great gift for a family member, and they'll never receive the good. It was a scam from start to finish."
Tripp says it is harder to spot a criminal now because they are using the latest technology.
"AI has had an impact on the scams that we're seeing," Tripp says. "In the past, a lack of fluency in English was a potential red flag. If you're dealing with somebody that you don't know, however, AI scammers are able to create very, very convincing exchanges with victims, especially over text."
If you get ripped off, contact your credit card company or bank, then report the crime.
Take a look at more stories and videos by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.
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