We have all been there- scrolling through your social media and an ad pops up for a cute gift idea or sweater that seems like a fantastic deal! While it may seem like a great deal or a legitimate site, be aware! According to the Federal Trade Commission, 45% of social media scams from 2021 involved online shopping. Nearly 70% of the victims ordered items that never showed up. Most of these victims said they were lured in by something they saw on social media. It can be easy to fall for these scams- many ads look like legitimate online retailers and have links to look-alike websites.
While these ads may be tempting, there will also be red flags to look for! Before you decide to purchase something from one of these ads, take the following steps to shop safely!
Look for a physical address and phone number. If the address is based overseas, or if there is no address listed at all, think twice before buying. You will probably have a long wait time and high shipping costs.
Read the fine print. Look out for spelling errors or odd disclaimers. Make sure there are privacy and return policies and check for hidden fees.
Hunt for signs of trouble. Do an online search for the company's name and add a tag word like reviews, complaints, or scam. You can also check the Better Business Bureau or sites like TrustPilot.com.
Consider another seller. Check a website you trust for the same or a similar product.
Pay with a credit card. Paying with a credit card instead of your bank's debit card is a safer choice when it comes to online shopping. It's easier to dispute charges and get money back and it doesn't disrupt your bank account.
Source: AARP Bulletin "Shop Safely on Socia Media"