Better Business Bureau warns of online shopping scams

Laveta Brigham

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The pre-Black Friday sales are everywhere. Many shoppers, like Kristen Read, are doing their holiday spending online this year, but consumer privacy expert Paul Bischoff said to beware of email advertisements. “A lot of these sites advertise on social media or maybe they try to […]

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The pre-Black Friday sales are everywhere.

Many shoppers, like Kristen Read, are doing their holiday spending online this year, but consumer privacy expert Paul Bischoff said to beware of email advertisements.

“A lot of these sites advertise on social media or maybe they try to at least just get email addresses from people on social media, so then they can send them phishing pages later,” Bischoff said.

Bischoff is an editor for Comparitech.com, a security-focused tech research website that found more than 5,000 potential scam and phishing sites were created between Nov. 1 and Nov. 20, using keywords like “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday.”

“What’s a bigger problem is that when a scammer sends you a link, you click on the link and you don’t notice the typo in the link,” Bischoff said.

TIPS TO AVOID ONLINE PURCHASE SCAMS

  1. If the deal looks too good to be true, it probably is.
  2. Beware of fake websites.
  3. Check the URL.
  4. Watch for bad grammar.
  5. Search for contact information.

Read said she’s keeping an eye out for these tricks when visiting her favorite online shopping sites.

“I actually work for a retail company that specializes in retail technology, so one thing we’re told to look for is to make sure there are no misspellings and make sure that your emails are coming from reputable sources,” she said.

The Better Business Bureau recommends using a credit card instead of a debit card when shopping online.

One of the most common mistakes made by victims of online shopping scams last year was falling for a deal that was too good to be true, according to Cinthya Lavin, South Florida regional communications director for the Better Business Bureau.

“We really advise consumers to not shop just on price alone,” she said. “Scammers know this and they take advantage and will price something very, very low just to get your money.”

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