Even before the pandemic forced many people to avoid crowded spaces, more and more people shopped online. According to one study, more than 14 percent of people worldwide online shopped in 2019 – a number that was expected to reach 23 percent in five years but will likely climb even higher. As more people shop online, though, the number of scams has also risen. Here are some best practices to avoid online shopping scams this year.
The Signs of Online Shopping Scams
Online shopping scams come in many forms, but they often follow similar characteristics. You will want to avoid buying from websites that look poorly designed or feature glaring mistakes, such as spelling errors or broken links. Ensure the site has contact information for the seller, including a customer service line and a physical address. If you are not sure, do a quick Internet search for the site you are browsing and see if you can find any negative reviews or comments.
Stay with What You Know
A great way to avoid online shopping scams is to stick with popular retailers that you know and trust. These companies will have full customer service support in case something goes wrong. With that said, remember that some sites like Amazon, Walmart, and Etsy can feature listings from private sellers. Confirm that the seller you are purchasing from is either the store itself or, at the very least, a well-reviewed seller. Profiles with few reviews and a small number of available products should raise immediate red flags.
How People Get Caught in Scams
Does a seller promise a PlayStation 5 when it seems every other store is sold out? Usually, people fall for these scams out of desperation. Usually, if a deal looks too good to be true, it likely is. Scammers prey on people’s impulsiveness, knowing they may enter their credit card without thinking if the price is right. Online scams will be everywhere this holiday season, so make sure you shop safely and smartly.
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