Lots of people like to shop online. It’s easy and sometimes faster than finding what you want at the local mall. With just a few clicks, your order is processed and your purchase could be on your doorstep the next day. That is, unless you clicked on an ad that was really a scam.
Online ads that offer deals on luxury items at low prices can be part of a scheme to take your money and give you nothing in return. Scammers falsely use well-known name brands in their ads for clothing, shoes, online games, and other expensive items to entice you. Scammers know that people looking for a good deal may be tempted to click on their links. But if you know how to spot online shopping scams, you can avoid losing your money — and more.
If you like to shop online, keep these tip-offs to rip-offs in mind:
- Anyone can set up an online shop. So before you place an order online, confirm that the shop has a physical address and a phone number where you can reach someone if you have problems with your order.
- Scammers often offer luxury brands at ridiculously low prices to trick you.
- Clicking on pop-up ads can download viruses, spyware, malware, and other unwanted software to your computer. It’s best to avoid them.
- If the seller requires payment through a wire transfer or by you giving them numbers off a gift card or prepaid card, that’s a scam. Legitimate sellers won’t restrict payment to those methods.
For more tips, visit our Shopping & Saving page. While you’re at it, sign up for our scam alerts to help you recognize and report scams and frauds.