Online Shopping Tips

Authored By: Emily Oldenkamp on 9/15/2020

Do you know where you’re really shopping online?

It’s no secret that many of us are shopping online more than ever. Whether you’re looking for comfies to wear while you work from home or new fall decor, make sure you know where you’re shopping online.

Fraudsters are hijacking real product ads and reposting them on popular sites like Facebook and Instagram. What does this mean for you? If you unknowingly purchase an item from one of these online retailers, your items may never arrive or look nothing like what you thought you ordered. These ads can look shockingly real, so always be vigilant, and consider these tips to protect yourself while shopping online:

  1. Purchase products from retailers you know and trust. Visit the store’s website directly and shop their site; if an ad is real, the same product and price will be available on the retailer’s site.
  2. Consider other shoppers’ experiences. Search the Better Business Bureau’s (BBB) website for complaints and enter the retailer’s name or web address into a Google search and look for third-party reviews.
  3. Verify the legitimacy of the retailer. Locate the retailer’s address on their website and lookup the address using Google Maps or MapQuest to ensure the location is a business and not a personal residence. Perform a search of the company’s phone number to validate it belongs to the retailer.
  4. Inspect the website. Examine the URL, company name, and even product names and descriptions; any slight spelling errors (i.e. www.netflix.com vs. www.netflx.com) or incorrect domain (i.e. www.target.com vs. www.target.co) may be a key sign the site is a scam.
  5. Read the retailer’s terms of purchase including Shipping and Delivery, Returns and Refunds, and Cancellations. Excessive shipping times often indicate international delivery and may be an indicator of low-quality or counterfeit products. Return policies requiring advance arrangements may indicate a retailer’s attempt to thwart returns.

If an ad promises unbelievably low prices and features too good to be true, it most likely is too good to be true. All of that said, not all unfamiliar retailers are fraudulent but it never hurts to take a few minutes and get to know them before letting them get to know you!



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