BBB shares tips for safe online shopping, how to avoid scams

 

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, many people will take to online shopping once again this year. Unfortunately, that means scammers are ramping up their efforts.

“BBB scam tracker shows 40% of the scams reported to the Better Business Bureau in 2020 were online shopping scams,” said Heather Clary, Better Business Bureau Director of Communications.

The BBB recommends the following tips to “Shop Safe, Shop Smart” this holiday season:

  • Research before you buy. Use BBB.org and shopper reviews to do your homework before paying. Also, read our tips for spotting phony reviews.
  • If the deal looks too good to be true, it probably is. The top motivating factor for people who made a purchase, then lost money was price. Don’t shop on price alone.
  • Beware of fake websites: Check the URL, watch for bad grammar, research the age of the domain, and search for contact information. See BBB’s tips for identifying a fake website.
  • Professional photos do not mean it’s a real offer. Respondents reported that website photos motivated them to engage with scammers, especially for pets/pet supplies, clothing/accessories, and vehicles.
  • Make sure the website is secure. Look for the “https” in the URL (the extra s is for “secure”) and a small lock icon on the address bar. Never enter payment or personal information into a website with only “http” – it is NOT secure.
  • Be careful purchasing sought-after products, especially during the holiday season. The risk of online purchase scams rises during the holidays because more people are making online purchases, and scammers offer the most popular products for the season at great prices.
  • Beware of making quick purchases while scrolling through social media. Scammers have access to tools they need to learn about your buying behaviors, offering exactly what you want at enticingly low prices.
  • Look for the BBB seal. BBB Accredited Businesses pledge to uphold the BBB Standards for Trust and to deal fairly with consumers. If a business displays a BBB seal, verify it by going to BBB.org.
  • Use secure and traceable transactions and payment methods. According to BBB’s research, those who paid with a credit card were less likely to lose money. Be cautious when paying by digital wallet apps, prepaid money cards, or other non-traditional payment methods. Learn more about payment types and how to use each safely.
  • Shipment tracking information can be faked. Look closely to make sure it is a legitimate business. Avoid clicking on the tracking link; go to the ‘shipper’s website and type in the code to see if it is real.

You can see additional tips HERE.

Also, if you have a scam you want the Better Business Bureau to look into, or if you want to see other scams that have been reported, click HERE.

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