Tips to avoid online shopping scams this holiday season

Midday News
This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

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


  • 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 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 ( to help other consumers avoid being scammed. 

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Latest News

More News