The internet has changed the way people shop. Going to an actual store to purchase goods seems to be on a rapid decline while staying inside purchasing items online is on the rise. Today you can sit inside your home or anywhere, browse for your specific items any time of the day/night, hit a button, and those items show up at your doorstep. The ease and convenience of online shopping has changed the way we spend money, but you need to keep in mind that while it can be more convenient, it can create a host of issues if you aren’t careful. Online shopping scams are at an all-time high and you need to know how to protect yourself and identity.
Most retailers are now setting up e-commerce stores so being aware of red flags when shopping online is essential. Those that are new to shopping online may be at the biggest risk.
Below are Some Key Considerations When Shopping Online
While you can’t totally avoid being scammed, you can be aware of some considerations when you are shopping to minimize the likelihood of becoming a victim. Below are some key concerns to look for:
Check the URL- If the sight looks legitimate, make sure you double check the URL before clicking on the link. Many malicious sites look like real on-line stores and even have elaborate designs and layouts to make it look legitimate. Make sure the “S” is present in the “HTTPS.” The “S” means the site is secure and any personal/financial information being sent is encrypted for your protection.
Utilize the Safety-Check Tool- Put the URL into Google’s transparency report and it will provide information and facts about that site. It is not only simple to use but can assist you in determining whether the site is safe or malicious.
Research the Sight- If you are unsure whether a site is legitimate, read any reviews about the online store before you open the link. This has personally saved me many times. When reading the reviews, if you see unsatisfied customers stating they never received the product or it wasn’t what it claimed, don’t shop there!
Warning Signs of Being Scammed
The price is too good to be true- If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. You have heard this before. Whether its jewelry, designer bags, shoes, or clothing, you may pay for it thinking you got the deal of a lifetime only to find out you received a “fake” or don’t receive anything at all. Now the scammer has your payment and personal information.
The requested method of payment- A scammer will try to prompt a quick transaction by the method of money order, pre-loaded card, or a wire transfer. This is a huge red flag!
The store on social media is new- Some of these scammers set up a pop-up online store to sell goods at an excellent price and claim to be of high value. Once these scammers get a few victims, they shop suddenly disappears and those people never get their items or money back.
The seller is overseas and provides limited information- The seller offers little to no information on contact number, address, privacy, terms, and conditions of use or returns.
During the holiday season and all through the year, these are some helpful tips to follow to practice safer shopping online.
Avoid Online Shopping Scams and Protect Your Identity
It only takes a few preemptive measures to ensure you don’t fall prey to a scam while shopping online. In the end, it will make for a happier shopping experience. As consumers, you should always remain vigilant when shopping. If you have any questions of protecting your identity or avoiding online scamming, contact our offices today at Burkett & Associates and we will assist you with all your needs. Happy shopping during the holidays and all throughout the year.