Tips to avoid online shopping scams this holiday season

Midday News
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Steve J. Bernas, President & CEO – Better Business Bureau of Chicago and Northern Illinois

http://www.bbb.org/chicago

Points:

  • Online purchase scams were among the top three riskiest scams for the last three years. 
  • In 2015, online purchase scams comprised just 13 percent of scams with a monetary loss; so far in 2020, they comprise a whopping 64 percent.  
  • The enticement of a great sales price was the top reason victims purchased a product and lost money. 
  • Those ages 35 to 44 are most at risk of losing money to online purchase scams 
  • The platforms most reported by consumers who saw products and lost money were: (1) Facebook, (2) Google, (3) direct merchant website, (4) Instagram, (5) pop up ad in social media when actively shopping.  
  • According to survey respondents, out of the 57 percent who did not research the website or business via an independent source before making a purchase, 81 percent of them lost money.  

Consumer Tips: 

  • 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. 
  • 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. 
  • Research before you buy. Out of the 57 percent who didn’t research the website or business via an independent source (*like BBB.org) before making a purchase, 81 percent lost money. 
  • Beware of fake websites: Check the URL, watch for bad grammar, research the age of the domain, search for contact information and read online reviews. 
  • Report suspicious activities to BBB Scam Tracker (BBB.org/ScamTracker) to help other consumers avoid being scammed. 

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