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‘Tis the season for online scams

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- With more and more people shopping online these days, it's no surprise that many of these holiday scammers are headed to the Internet in search of potential targets. Even if you're just having fun on social media, the crooks are there.

It's easy to give away important, personal information without even realizing it. Twitter user Karolyn Dearing says what started as a fun game quickly turned into a security threat. 

Imagine the excitement of winning cash, only to realize it's all too good to be true. 

"[They said I had won] $150,000 dollars plus $5,000 in Walmart gift cards," she said.

"The entire time in the back my head I'm thinking, 'It's probably a scam,'" she said.

Dearing is a mother of two. She wandered on Twitter recently and started following a page that promised big payouts. All she had to do - follow a few easy instructions, like the profile, retweet and wait to win. 

"So I did," she said.

A few days later she hit it big.

"I got this message one day, so I'm like, 'Wow, I won. Cool!'" she said.

According to the message, Dearing had been selected.

"At first he wasn't asking for a card or a bank account so this is starting to sound legit," she said.

But soon that story changed. They wanted banking information - even $200 to cover "taxes." 

The Better Business Bureau says this time of year many online 'grinches' are looking to trick users out of their money. 

"You're sharing your personal information with people you don't know, they're friends of friends, so things like your address, your Facebook profile, your email address. That's all now in the hands of people that you're not one on one connected to," said Kelsey Coleman with the BBB.

Many users realize these online phishing games are scams, but sometimes it's too late. If you did fall for the scam and hand out personal information, block the scammer from contacting you, change your online passwords and contact your financial institutions.  

Local News

Kristen Skovira

Kristen is a reporter and an anchor for the weekend evening newscasts. You can learn more about Kristen here.

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