Some of the best deals are found online. Common websites like Amazon have gotten users more comfortable with shopping online. You’ll often notice ads for items you may want to buy online. These ads will often feature messages that make you feel like you need to click and check out the deal. Sometimes these ads are legitimate, but unfortunately, other times they are actually scams. These companies that aren’t quite what they seem will either not send the product that was ordered, or the item will not fit the expectations of what was ordered.
Tips for staying safe
- Only visit sites/buy items from known advertisers. It’s easy for a fake site to look like the site of a common retailer. Because of this, make sure you are only clicking ads from advertisers that you know for sure are the legitimate website.
- Shop on secure sites. When you’re shopping online, check in the web address bar and make sure the website is secure. If you’re on a secure website, the url starts with “https://”.
- Be a smart shopper. Before submitting an order online, check out the retailer’s return policy and make sure you read the fine print of the website. Some items that are bought online can be returned for free, some for a fee, and still others cannot be returned at all.
- Think before you click. Be cautious of online ads on social media sites as well as ads/links contained in unsolicited emails. You may not know for sure if these retailers can be trusted.
- Beware of deals that seem too-good-to-be-true. When shopping online, if a deal seems too-good-to-be-true, it probably is. There could be hidden costs, or your purchase could also sign you up for a monthly charge.
- Watch out for phishing attempts. Phishing emails can look like they are from legitimate online retailers but are actually from a scammer pretending to be the retailer. Clicking on links from a phishing email could put you at risk for malware to be installed or identity theft.
- Use a credit card while shopping online. It’s good practice to always use a credit card to shop online. Credit cards can offer fraud protection not available on debit cards or prepaid cards. Charges on a credit card that didn’t get your approval are easier to dispute than charges made to a debit or prepaid card.