Tips to Avoid an Online Shopping Scam
Online shopping scams involve scammers pretending to be legitimate online sellers, either with a fake website or a fake ad on a genuine retailer site. Keep yourself and your money safe by learning how to recognize the signs of online shopping scams.
While many online sellers are legitimate, unfortunately scammers can use the anonymous nature of the internet to steal from unsuspecting shoppers.
Scammers often set up fake retailer websites that look like genuine online retail stores, complete with stolen logos and sophisticated designs and layouts. Many of these websites offer luxury or expensive items at extremely low prices. If you purchase from one of these fake sites, you may receive a knockoff item or receive nothing at all.
In a newer version of online shopping scams, social media platforms, like Facebook, are used to set up fake online stores. The store is opened for a short time, often selling fake branded items. After making sales, the stores are removed and disappear from the social platform. Social media is also used by scammers to advertise their fake website, so do not trust a site just because you have seen it advertised or shared on social media.
How can I spot a fake website or social media store?
1. The seller asks you to pay in an unusual way. Never pay for a product online by wire transfer, money order, a pre-loaded or gift card, or virtual currency like Bitcoin.
2. Always search for reviews of the store or website before buying anything from a new online store. A lot of negative reviews indicating a scam is a good sign that the store is fake.
3. A product is advertised at an unbelievably low price, or advertised to have amazing benefits or features that sound too good to be true. Most of the time, it is.
4. The social media store is very new and selling products at very low prices.
5. The store or website has little or no information about delivery, contact information, and other policies.
How can I protect myself?
Check if the website or social media page has a delivery and refund or returns policy, and that their policies sound fair.
Only pay for items online using a secure payment service. Look for a URL starting with ‘https’ or a known secure payment provider such as PayPal.
Avoid any online stores that ask you to pay with a money order, wire transfer, gift card, or virtual currency.
Never send money, give card information, or give account details to anyone you don’t know or trust.
If you believe you have fallen victim to a scam, please reach out to us as soon as possible at 972.348.2000.