Holiday Online Shopping Scams

As we enter the holiday shopping season, it is predicted that product shortages coupled with supply chain issues could lead to an increase in online shopping scams. An online shopping scam is when an online transaction is made, but the item or service you paid for never arrives or does not exist as described. Follow these steps to protect yourself from scammers this holiday season.

Beware of fake websites
Check the web address and research the age of the domain. If contact information is missing from the site, that is a red flag.

Make sure you are shopping on a secure site
Look for “https” in the URL. If the site is secure, you will see a small lock icon on the address bar. Never enter payment or personal information into a website with only “http” – it is not secure and you could be putting your information at risk.

Don’t shop on price alone
Offers on websites and in unsolicited emails can sound too good to be true. If you see a very low price on hard-to-find items, this may be a warning sign of a scam. There may be hidden costs or recurring monthly charges you could fall prey to. Look for fine print.

Do your research
Read shopper reviews. Doing your homework before pressing “Buy Now” is the best way to protect yourself from online scams.

If you suspect that you have been scammed by an online retailer, act fast. Dispute the charge with your credit/debit card company, save all documentation related to the transaction for reporting purposes, and notify the FBI IC3 at www.ic3.gov.