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Tips for Avoiding Online Shopping Scams

Shopping online offers us access to a wider variety of products that ever before. But along with the opportunity to shop at new and unique online stores comes the risk of getting caught up in an online scam. How can you tell the difference? Here are some things to look at when shopping at a new-to-you online business.

  • The product claims to be a “great deal” on designer brands or has features that sound too good to be true. If they sound too good to be true, they probably are. Do more research.
  • You can’t pay with a credit card or through a secured payment service like PayPal. The seller asks to be paid with a money order, pre-loaded money card, or wire transfer. This is a big red flag. Legitimate retailers will allow card or PayPal payments which are secure.
  • It’s a new store advertised on social media platforms and you can’t ­find any information about it. It’s possible they’ll make a few sales, then disappear. You may or may not receive anything. And if you do get something, it may not be what was advertised. Research the retailer to learn more about them, and how long they’ve been in business. Look for a history of good customer reviews.
  • Look for their refund or return policy. If there isn’t one or it is not detailed, avoid shopping there.
  • Only use sites with HTTPS in the beginning of the URL and a closed padlock symbol. These ensure that you have a secure internet connection so that your payment information can’t be stolen as it’s transmitted to the business.