18 Online Shopping Scams and Traps You Should Pay Attention to

18 Online Shopping Scams and Traps You Should Pay Attention to

Online shopping scams refer to fraudulent activities in which scammers use various techniques to deceive unsuspecting online shoppers into providing personal information or money.

While online shopping can save you money and allow you to access many products, there are also downsides. Online criminals and hackers are always trying to con shoppers with fake discounts and deals. According to a recent Better Business Bureau Scam Tracker Report, online purchase frauds are the second-most dangerous type of fraud, after employment scams.

Once scammers have gained access to a victim’s personal information or financial details, they can use this information to steal money, commit identity theft, or carry out other types of fraud.

18 Online Shopping Traps and Scams You Should Pay Attention to

There are several ways scammers can execute online shopping scams, including setting up fake websites that mimic legitimate online stores, using phishing emails or social media messages to trick people into clicking on fraudulent links or attachments, or even posing as legitimate sellers on popular e-commerce marketplaces.

Requests to Pay with Wire Transfers

If a retailer asks for payment by wire transfer, money order, or gift card, sound the alarm. This will most likely result in your money falling into the hands of a fraudster and you not receiving any money for it. According to the Better Business Bureau, you can protect yourself by paying with a credit card, or any other secure form of payment.

Send Links via Text Messages

A smishing scam is when you get a text message asking you to click on a link to advertise a great deal or to cancel a service. Smishing scams are a way for criminals and others to obtain your personal information. They do this by convincing you to click on a fake link in a text.

Experian was told that scammers use text messages to lure people into clicking links and providing personal information to respond to text messages from what appears to have been a trusted source. They’ll also use other strategies.

Also read: Ecommerce Fraud: Top 10 Ways Protect Your Ecommerce Business

Fake Domains and Websites

Many online retailers may be legitimate, but others might not. You might get a counterfeit product if you shop on a bogus website. You might get something totally different than what you were expecting, or none at all.

The domain name is a good way to determine if you are visiting a fake website. Most legitimate URLs won’t have misspellings or extra characters. CNBC reports that most retail websites match their trademark names and are easy to navigate. CNBC says that Michael Kors.com is the domain name. Gucci.com is the domain name of high-end designer Gucci.

It is also possible to check if the website is certified by a universal seal, such as Norton Secured Seal. Consumer Reports states that such seals usually indicate trustworthiness. You can also verify the date of creation by using Whois.

Outrageous Discounts

Imagine that you see an advertisement for 95% off your favorite product. Click on the ad to be taken to a site where you can find deals. To redeem the ad, you will need to enter your personal information and receive your product. The scammer will have your personal information and leave you high and dry.

You can compare the price of similar items at other retailers if you are skeptical about a deal. A simple price comparison can help determine if the offer is genuine or a scam to get you to spend money on a product or service you don’t need.

Use public Wi-Fi to Avoid During Shopping

Use Wi-Fi in public places with caution. Avoid it if you plan to purchase products or enter payment information. Public Wi-Fi increases the risk of identity theft. According to AARP, online criminals may set up a Wi-Fi network that is similar to yours, hoping you will connect to it. You should also use a virtual private network if you need public Wi-Fi.

Phishing Emails

Phishing emails that are marketed as shopping can occur at any time of year, but they are most popular around the holidays. An email from a trusted retailer appears to offer a discount or notify you about problems with your order. The email will usually contain a link that you need to click in order to get the discount or correct the problem. However, clicking the link downloads malware to your computer.

To confirm the legitimacy of the sender, double-check the email address. Etsy suggests that you be aware of poor spelling and grammar, as well as links that ask for personal information. This is a way to avoid being swindled out of your money.

Fake Shipping Alerts

This could be a phishing scam if you get an email from FedEx or another major shipping company claiming your package has been delayed or that there are problems with your order. This email will typically ask you to click on the link to find out more about the problem. Clicking the link could lead to malware being downloaded that hackers can use to steal information from your computer.

CNBC recommends that you visit the shipper’s site directly, rather than clicking on the link. You can use your tracking number or order confirmation number, to check the status of your parcel, CNBC says.

Bypassing Sketchy Contact Information

Reputable retailers often have an overview of who they are under the “About Us” section. This allows you to see their history, values, and mission. Shoppers can also contact legitimate companies via the “Contact Us” section.

A section called “About Us” and “Contact Us” can be helpful in building trustworthiness and transparency within a retailer. You should confirm that the retailer has a line of communication with customers if you have any doubts regarding a website’s authenticity.

Do Not Research Deals

Do your research and comparison websites to get an idea of the average price of a product on the market. You have the best chance of determining if a deal you are interested in is genuine or just fluff. You could end up paying too much for the item you desire or giving in to fraud.

Not Monitoring Your Accounts

Even though you may not want to use your credit card every time, it can help you quickly track fraudulent activity and prevent you from making other shopping mistakes online. Regularly reviewing your credit card activity and account balances is a smart thing to do in order to spot unusual purchases and unauthorized expenditures. Report it immediately if you notice any unusual expenditures or unauthorized purchases.

Fake Coupon Sites

Avoid clicking coupons on social media. You should not click coupons from social media pages that are affiliated with retailers. Sometimes, however, coupons that appear on social media sites claiming to be associated with retailers can be fake.

Let’s say, for example, you find a Ross deal that has not been promoted on any of Ross’ official media channels. Instead of believing that the deal is a secret, get in touch with your Ross representative or search Ross’ official website to find out more. You are vulnerable to malware attacks if you don’t.

It’s Too Early to Buy Final Sale Items

Pay attention to the final sale items when you browse clearance online. Consumerist says that the final sale does not always refer to the final price. Retailers will sometimes lower the final sale prices.

What’s the point of final sales items? To discourage return-happy customers. Invesp reports that 30% of online orders are returned while only 8% are returned in-store.

Subscribe to Too Many Alerts

While you don’t want to miss out on any great deals, having too many email lists can lead to an overflowing inbox. Promotions may have a limited shelf life but they are likely to be renewed.

It’s better to sign up for promotions when searching for something than get FOMO about them. You can take a break from your inbox and not get tempted by unneeded sale items.

Review Sites Are Your Best Friend

Retailers know that positive reviews of products and services have a lot to do with new customers. Customers can use it to gain insight into a product even if they cannot physically touch or see it. ReviewTracker’s 2022 survey found that 63.6% said they would check Google reviews before visiting a business. Some online retailers even pay for positive reviews.

Avoid being deceived by fake reviews. Be wary of reviews that don’t provide any details about the product. Pay attention to the date of reviews. A high number of positive reviews posted simultaneously could indicate that the reviews were paid for.

Buy More to Get Free Shipping

It’s fun to shop online, but you have to pay shipping costs. Many retailers will offer free shipping to customers who spend more than a certain amount. Although it sounds great, you may end up spending more money if you add an additional item to fulfill the shipping minimum. The extra item is usually a replacement for the shipping fees you didn’t want. Shop with retailers that offer free shipping throughout the year.

Also read: Top 10 Scams to Avoid During Retirement

Fake Apps

Before you download any Black Friday or other savings apps to find major discounts or deals on holiday gifts, ensure it’s legal. One in 25 Black Friday app scams is found by RiskIQ, according to a 2017 study. These apps can be used to steal personal data or install malware on the users’ phones or laptops.

Consumer Reports advised that you only download official store apps, or trusted apps like FatWallet and DealNews to avoid this scam.

Deep Discounts on Designer Products

Even if you purchase a product on a trusted site such as Amazon, Walmart, or eBay, You might still be able to purchase a counterfeit product from a third-party seller If the price seems too good to be true, it could be a sign that the item is counterfeit.

Hidden Shipping Charges

You’ve probably all experienced that moment when you click “check out” only to find that your shopping cart total is higher than what you expected. Hidden shipping costs, such as shipping fees for each item, could cause this. Perhaps the site claims that shipping is free for all shoppers who sign up for an annual membership.

Be sure to know the shipping costs before you place your order on any online shopping site. This will help you decide if it is worth paying extra for convenience. Sometimes, you can avoid shipping fees by selecting to pick up in-store or using free shipping codes from sites like RetailMeNot.

Don’t Be Too Reliant on Reviews

It is easy to make a fake review, so don’t believe everything you read. MarketWatch says that some signs of fake reviews include the overuse of personal pronouns and the lack of concrete details.

Reviews are not always fake. However, they can still be useful in helping you make a decision about whether to buy. When it comes to purchasing a product, however, reviews should not be considered your only source of information.

Shop Around

Shopping around is one of the best ways you can avoid being scammed. You can tell if a product’s price is significantly lower or higher than it is on other websites.

It is a great way to search around for the item you are looking for on trusted sites, as opposed to buying the first item you find on Google. Google Shopping allows you to easily compare prices from different websites. You can also see shipping costs so that you can compare the actual price of the item to the advertised price.

Use a credit card to pay

Pay with a credit or debit card, rather than a wire transfer, person-to-person payment apps, or PayPal. Credit card transactions can easily be traced and you are protected against any unauthorized charges or charges for items that you did not receive through the Fair Credit Billing Act. Most credit card companies will not charge you for any disputes.

An Online Merchant Does Not Need Any Personal Information

An online merchant should not have access to your bank account details, Social Security numbers, or date of birth. This information may be requested by a website that is likely to con you.

Keep in mind that if it seems too good to be true, it probably is

Sites offering up to 90% discount on designer products, coupons from retailers for amazing deals, and sites with glowing reviews all share one thing: they are probably fake. Trust your gut instincts and don’t believe anything that seems too good to be true.

Last Line

To avoid falling victim to online shopping scams, it’s important to be cautious when shopping online and to take steps to protect your personal and financial information. This includes only shopping from reputable online retailers, avoiding clicking on suspicious links or attachments, and using secure payment methods like credit cards or PayPal.

You May Also Like

About the Author: The Next Trends

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.