Since the pandemic, online shopping has become a way of life. Not only can we find some great bargains on the internet, shopping online can be more convenient and less expensive. Along with these positive experiences there can also be risk.

Since January 1st of 2020 the Federal Trade Commission has recorded over 26 thousand online shopping fraud reports resulting in $16.26 million lost. Users have reported online shopping scams involving Facebook Marketplace ads, eBay and others for purchases ranging from baby supplies to used cars. Consumers have complained about ordering from legitimate looking websites, only to go back to find the sites deleted, and the items never arrive. 

Take Action

If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. If you see a product advertised online with a rock-bottom price compared to its suggested retail price, it’s a huge red flag of a scam. It is possible find good deals by comparison shopping, but be wary of deeply discounted prices.

Pay with a credit card when shopping online. Credit cards offer extra protections, limiting what you owe if someone steals your information and allows you to dispute certain charges, even if you don’t receive your order. Unlike a debit card, a credit card isn’t a direct line into your checking account. Be wary of sellers requiring you to pay specifically through a wire transfer, prepaid debit cards or gift cards. Scammers often prefer these types of payments because they are like cash, and not easily stopped or traced.

Don’t be fooled by a professional looking website. Just because a website looks good doesn’t mean it’s real. Websites are easily created, and scammers often use cybersquatting techniques to fool consumers with names very close to well know businesses.  A domain mimicking Facebook (facebookwinners2020[.]com) scamming users with rewards, such as free products or money.

Additional resources are linked in Actions.