Most are reputable vendors who capitalize on the Christmas cyber buyers, but some throw bait in the hopes that you will get your money on counterfeit deals.
So how can you spot an online shopping scam before you get scammed? Look out for red flags like a price too good to be true for hot, hard-to-get vacation items. And when the seller requests instant payment like venmo, cell, money transfer, or debit cards.
“I said to him: ‘Look, I can’t get the sneakers’, I was ripped off,” said the victim Julene Stassou.
Stassou fell victim to a Grinch gift.
Her son Jake has seen some Air Jordans on the internet. They match his team colors and the price was right, less than $ 80 for the OG high-tops, which can sell up to $ 589 per pair.
“So he sent me a link, I clicked it and ordered it,” said Stassou.
The author and nutritionist used her PayPal account to buy the shoes the day after Thanksgiving.
“I realized they never came,” said Stassou. “So I logged into PayPal and emailed the seller and found that I was blocked by them.”
She said PayPal wasn’t going to help.
“You end up buying something that isn’t even there,” said Claire Rosenzweig, president of Metro New York’s BBB.
Two-thirds of consumers who report to Scam Tracker say they were attacked by fraudulent advertisements for a specific product after searching for it.
Usually they never got the product, or what they saw wasn’t even close to what they got.
“These swindlers are good at what they do,” said Rosenzweig.
Rosenzweig says complaints are high because services like PayPal don’t help with refunds.
This is why you should use a credit card when shopping. In the event of a dispute, you have recourse.
Also, beware of false “new orders” notifications. Nina Pineda received an email warning that her Amazon account had been suspended and a text message from Best Buy – but both were fake.
“Never click the link in that message, go to the actual company and find out if there really is a question about your order,” said Rosenzweig.
To avoid being compromised, only use websites that have an “S” at the end of HTTP that means safe and make sure you are reading reviews and not just from one source. They could be fake.
Find the product and company name and report any fraud to both the company that the seller may be counterfeiting and the police.
ALSO READ | How to get your money back if you fall for cell / bank fraud
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