Experts are predicting an earlier start to the 2021 holiday shopping season because of supply chain concerns, microchip shortages and holiday hiring.
The Better Business Bureau warns scammers will find ways to take advantage of the situation by varying the product categories, capitalizing on what people are looking for online and focusing on the most sought-after gifts such as electronics, toys and other trendy gift items.
“These critical findings can help guide our scam prevention outreach to those most vulnerable to these scam types,” said Melissa Trumpower, executive director of the BBB Institute for Marketplace Trust, BBB’s foundation. “Online purchase scams don’t just affect those who lose money. For every victim who lost money, that meant less income to buy groceries, gifts, pay the utility bill, or the loss of personal information that could lead to identity theft.”
BBB offers the following tips to stay safe while online shopping:
• If the deal looks too good to be true, it probably is. The top motivating factor for people who made a purchase and then lost money was price. Don’t shop on price alone.
• Before you buy, do your research. Out of the 57 percent who did not research the website or business via an independent source before making a purchase, 81 percent lost money.
• Beware of fake websites. Check the URL for errors/inconsistencies. Watch for bad grammar. Beware of new domain names. Search for accessible contact information. Read online reviews about the company and/or website.
Send your scam story to: firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 507-831-3455. Stories will appear in an upcoming edition and in a Thursday website report. By sharing your story, you may prevent others from being scammed.
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