Are you a last-minute holiday shopper? You wait until the week of Christmas to begin searching for the perfect present. With the scarcity of hot ticket items and looking for the best price, consumers can find themselves at the short-end of a con. As you begin your quest, you need to start with trust.
Using the internet to shop has become a way of life in 2020 and the trend continues through the holidays. However, con artists are aware too and are working hard to steal your money. When shopping in person or online, it is imperative to research the company before checking out. Many people falsely assume if a retail website is on the internet, it is legitimate. A study released by Better Business Bureau revealed that more than 80% of consumers who reported online purchase scams in 2020 lost money.
From purchasing inferior counterfeit items to receiving nothing at all, consumers pay the price. To avoid the scammers' trap, doing the research to find reputable companies is easy.
How to Find a Trustworthy Business
- Verify the company with org. A BBB accredited business has met the eight standards of trust.
- Confirm that the business is registered with the state and has current licensing. The website should include the physical address and phone number.
- Read reviews and complaints.
- Make sure the item’s cost and return policy are clearly defined.
The Signs of a Scam
- The price is too good to be true. It is tempting to take advantage of low pricing but it plays into the con artist's plan.
- A scare item is available and on sale. When demand is higher than supply, the cost of an item goes up, not down.
How to Spot a Fake Website
- Look for the age of the domain by using ICANN Lookup. If it is an established company and the domain was created recently, it is probably a scam.
- When researching the domain age, also check on the company's country of registration. For example, if it is a U.S. company and the domain is registered in a foreign country, beware.
- Check the URL of an established company. Scammers attempt to make their website look like that of a known company.
- The website lacks the company's contact information, which should include the physical address and phone number.
The Do List of Online Shopping
- Purchase from a trusted online retailer.
- Read the fine print on any online transaction.
- Pay via credit card and not your debit card.
- Use a secure website that includes https.
Beware of making quick purchases while scrolling through social media. As you gear up for those last-minute purchases, make sure you have your list and verify that finding a trustworthy online retailer is at the top of it.