For those who want to avoid the hustle and bustle of Black Friday shopping at their local mall, online shopping has become a staple method of easily purchasing gifts. Though many popular retailers have conformed to this new way of shopping, scam artists have also found ways to reel shoppers into their traps. We compiled some warning signs that may alert you to a scam and how you can protect yourself from them.
Unbelievably low prices
We all love a good deal on merchandise that normally comes at a hefty price. But as they say, if the price is too good to be true, then it probably is. According to ScamWatch, exceptionally discounted merchandise is normally an indicator that the item is counterfeit, and will obviously fail to meet the quality standards you are looking for. In addition, you will still likely be paying more than what that product is actually worth.
Another significant red flag when shopping online is if the party you are purchasing from insists on immediate payment. Examples of this include paying by wire services or money grams. CNBC recommends that you should stick to sites that have the option of paying by credit card or PayPal because the purchases then become tracable.
No listed information about the company
If the company doesn’t provide any information about themselves, such as contact information, terms and services, conditions of use or return policy, it likely isn’t reliable. Not providing basic information like this could indicate that something is wrong.
According to CNN Business, one of the most popular ways scam artists pull people in is through email. These emails will often claim that you can win a phenomenal deal by clicking the link that is provided. This link can take you to a bogus website where they may ask for credit card information before receiving a deal. They can also install malware into your computer which can steal your personal information. When in doubt, if the email seems questionable, delete it immediately.
The holiday season is certainly a prime time to keep an eye out for scams; however, these warning signs apply year round when online shopping.