Recognizing an online sales scam
Online scams involving “sales” calls target sellers by communicating their desire to purchase everything from vehicles and equipment to furniture, real estate and puppies. They overpay or send extra money with instructions to return a portion. This is most likely a scam, and the money they sent you is in the form of a counterfeit check or stolen funds. If you’re the buyer, they will request payment and never deliver the product. Pets have been a big fraud item during the pandemic, so be very cautious when transacting with individuals online, especially if they refuse to communicate verbally. Scammers limit their communication to email and text and will rarely talk to you in person.
How to avoid online sales scams
Steering clear of online shopping scams may be easier than you think. Whether it’s knowing how to identify fake websites or just taking some preliminary precautions, there are a number of effective ways to avoid being scammed online.
If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. If you’re shopping online and find that one specific item for an absurdly perfect price, chances are it’s a scam. Online scammers pick popular items and list them at discount prices to lure in customers.
Use a credit card instead of a debit card.Credit cards provide better security for online shopping, and they aren’t tied directly to your bank accounts.
Check out as a guest.Checking out as a guest will protect your information in the case of a security breach.
Use different passwords for different accounts.Once an online scammer has one password, they’ll usually try to use it on all your accounts.
Watch out for new websites. If you’re not familiar with the website, look for customer reviews. If someone felt they were scammed by the site, they may have written a review online about their experience.