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Better Business Bureau Warns Online Shoppers To Be Vigilent Of Scammers

Better Business Bureau

The Better Business Bureau recently issued a warning to online shoppers to beware of scams. With the Christmas and Holiday Shopping period underway, people are always looking for deals. The agency has a few tips to protect your purchases and be sure you get what you order.

The COVID-19 pandemic has shifted consumer practices with many more online purchases compared to consumers visiting stores. An Accenture survey declares that 75% of consumers will be doing some of their shopping online this year. The National Retail Federation predicts that people will spend $1,000 on holiday gifts.

President and CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Northern Nevada and Utah, Jane Rupp, says that the biggest shopping day of the year, Black Friday, is now a weekend’s worth of shopping online.

“Remember that social media is a great thing for connecting with your family and friends. It's not always a great thing for what's advertised there. There are some great advertisements for some great businesses, but there are also a lot of scams. So you need to do a little homework too. You know, make sure that you're actually going to get that product that you're ordering and so you want to check with the better business bureau. You want to do a google search on the company if you're not familiar with it. You know a good rule of thumb right now is to shop local. If you know the store, shop with them. That way you know you’re getting what you’re used to with that business.”

Rupp says humans are driven to respond to good deals, and when browsing on social media sites, she says enticing opportunities pop up.  She says one red flag is when the business doesn’t have contact information or a website address.

But remember, you know, there are a lot of sites that are tracking you and so they know what you're looking for to be perfectly honest. And so, they're going to be shoving those things at you and so you want to do the research. Again, it all goes back to that research, and we're not talking 20 minutes. We're talking two or three minutes. Just go in and check out the business you know.”

Rupp says using a credit card is the safest way to make online purchases. She says consumers can dispute a purchase if a product never arrives.

“And another red flag from kind of the questionable company, is if they continually put you off for when that product is going to arrive. So for 30 days it didn't arrive and they say, oh no we're shipping it. You know you want to make sure that you're actually disputing that charge within the time frame and it's usually 60 to 90 days if you use a debit card you don't have all of those protections.”

Rupp encourages people be careful about clicking on links while they’re browsing on social media.

Are trying to lure you to their sites and they're offering more and more things which means that the scammers are going to move right along with that and they will send an email that looks like it's from a legitimate site and you'll click on the link and all of a sudden you'll get malware you might have your information stolen that you really need to be vigilant and make sure that that site that email you got or that text you got is actually from the retailer that you might have signed up for the information from.”

Rupp says it’s important to register complaints with the Better Business Bureau. They can help identify scammers and online actors which distribute inferior products.

Go to BBB.org to submit complaints and to learn more about ways to keep safe from abuse while shopping online.

KPCW reporter Carolyn Murray covers Summit and Wasatch County School Districts. She also reports on wildlife and environmental stories, along with breaking news. Carolyn has been in town since the mid ‘80s and raised two daughters in Park City.
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