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Online holiday shopping scams

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) – The holiday shopping season kicks off at the end of this week!

According to the latest research from Finder, an estimated 140 million Americans plan to shop Black Friday and Cyber ​​Monday deals in 2022.

Denise Groene with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) ​​said, “As you are turning to online shopping this holiday season, it is important to make sure that you are on a secure website that is legitimate and that you are taking the time to check out that retailer prior to making any sort of purchases.”

The BBB warns that scammers do not care if consumers have a happy holiday.

“How online shopping fraud scams typically work is that you find an attractive item, sometimes even through an ad on social media. So, you click on that item, it takes you to their website, then you go ahead and you make that purchase,” Groene added. “From here a couple different things could happen: you may never get that item, or you may get an email with a tracking number so you are thinking that item is on the way and it may never come or it does come but it is completely different than what you ordered.”

The BBB said a quick check of a sellers marketplace history can save consumers some headaches down the road.

”Do a quick Google search, go to their website, go to their Facebook; a lot of these fake companies the scammer will put the website up just months before the holiday season, these are newly created websites,” Groene said.

She also encourages consumers to visit BBB.org to see if the business is listed. Also, another way to check their credibility is by visiting whois.com.

“On WhoIs.com you will put in that companies URL and it will give you a report as to where that website is registered out of, as well as, the date it was created,” Groene added.

The BBB said the type of payment method used when making an online purchase is just as important.

“Scammers are turning more to gift cards as a form of payment as well as digital currency, such as Zelle or Venmo, and it is extremely important to understand that both of those methods are like cash. So, once you send that payment, it cannot be undone. You cannot get that money back,” Groene said. “The safest way to pay for your online holiday shopping is through a credit card. It has more consumer protection, so that way you have that preventive method in case you were to stumble upon a fake website.”

The BBB did a study that found online retail fraud losses are predicted to reach nearly $380 million dollars this year. If you become a victim, report it at BBB.org/ScamTracker.

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