What's and Online Shopping Scam

An online shopping scam is a fraudulent attempt to trick you into giving up your personal or financial information, or into sending money to a scammer. Scammers often pose as legitimate online sellers, either with a fake website or a fake ad on a genuine retailer site. They may use sophisticated designs and layouts, possibly stolen logos, and even a domain name similar to an authentic retailer.

Here are some common online shopping scams:

  • Fake websites: Scammers create fake websites that look like the real websites of legitimate retailers. They may even use the same domain name as the real website, but with a slight variation. Once you enter your personal or financial information on the fake website, the scammer can steal it.
  • Fake ads: Scammers may place fake ads on legitimate websites. These ads may offer products or services at a very low price, or they may claim to be from a well-known retailer. When you click on the ad, you are taken to a fake website where you are asked to enter your personal or financial information.
  • Phishing emails: Scammers may send phishing emails that appear to be from legitimate retailers. These emails may ask you to update your account information, or they may tell you that you have won a prize. When you click on the link in the email, you are taken to a fake website where you are asked to enter your personal or financial information.
  • Overpayment scams: Scammers may contact you claiming to be from a legitimate retailer. They may say that they have overpaid you for an order, and they ask you to wire them the difference. Once you wire the money, the scammer disappears.
  • Shipping scams: Scammers may sell you products that they never intend to ship. They may take your money and then disappear.

How to protect yourself from online shopping scams:

  • Only shop from websites that you trust. Do some research before you shop online. Check the website’s URL carefully to make sure that it is legitimate. Look for reviews of the website from other shoppers.
  • Be wary of deals that seem too good to be true. If an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Scammers often use low prices to lure people in.
  • Don’t click on links in emails from people you don’t know. If you receive an email from a retailer that you do business with, hover your mouse over the link before you click on it. If the link takes you to a website that you don’t recognize, don’t click on it.
  • Pay with a credit card. If you do end up shopping on a website that you don’t trust, use a credit card. This will give you more protection if you are scammed.
  • Be careful about what personal information you give out online. Don’t give out your Social Security number, your credit card number, or your bank account number unless you are sure that the website is legitimate.

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