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How to Stay Safe from Purchase Scams on the Internet: Consumer’s Guide to Shopping Online

October 26, 2023

Credit card with laptop making a purchase on the internet


Online shopping has become increasingly popular, offering convenience and a wide array of products at your fingertips. However, with the rise of online shopping, there's also been an increase in online shopping traps and scams. 

Scammers use various tactics to trick shoppers into parting with their money or personal information. In this guide, we'll explore what online shopping scams are, how to spot them, and, most importantly, how to protect yourself from falling victim to these scams.

What is an Online Shopping Scam

Online shopping scams are deceptive schemes designed to defraud shoppers. Scammers set up fake online stores, advertise products that may not even exist and then lure unsuspecting consumers into making purchases. 

These scams can take many forms, including counterfeit goods, phishing websites, and more

Warning Signs of Online Shopping Scams

Before you make an online purchase, it's crucial to be aware of the warning signs that may indicate a scam:

Too Good to be True Discounts

Scammers often offer products to buy at unbelievably low prices to entice shoppers. If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Wire Transfer Requests

Be cautious of sellers who insist on payment through wire transfers or unconventional payment methods. Legitimate businesses typically offer secure payment options.

Links in Text Messages

Avoid clicking on links sent via unsolicited text messages. These links could lead to phishing websites designed to steal your personal information.

Fake Coupons

Scammers may send fake coupons via email or social media, promising significant discounts. Verify the authenticity of coupons before using them.

Online Security Purchase Scams to look Out For

When shopping online, it's essential to be vigilant as scammers are always devising new ways to part you from your hard-earned money. Here are three common purchase scams on the Internet that you should be aware of:

1. The Counterfeit Product Scam

In this scheme, scammers sell fake or counterfeit products, often at unbelievably low prices. Shoppers who fall for these deals receive substandard or completely different items from what they expected.

It's a classic case of "too good to be true," and it can leave you with a worthless product and a sense of betrayal.

2. The Phishing Websites Scam Targeting Personal Information

Phishing websites are designed to mimic legitimate online stores, with the aim of tricking shoppers into divulging personal and financial information leading to identity theft. These sites can be challenging to identify, but checking for secure website connections (https://) and being vigilant for grammatical errors in the site's content can help you spot them.

 Falling victim to a phishing website can lead to identity theft and financial loss.

3. The Non-Delivery Scam

In the non-delivery scam, shoppers pay for products that never arrive. After receiving payment, the seller disappears, leaving you with empty hands and an empty wallet.

This scam preys on your trust. Verifying the legitimacy of sellers and online stores before making a purchase is essential.

By staying informed about these common purchase scams, you can protect yourself from falling victim to online fraud and enjoy a safer online shopping experience.

hands typing on laptop


How To Avoid Online Shopping Scams

Protecting yourself from online purchase scams requires vigilance and caution. Learn how to avoid online scams so you can enjoy a safer shopping experience.

Here are some tips to help protect yourself:

  1. Research the Seller: Investigate the seller's reputation and read reviews from other customers. Be skeptical if there are no reviews or if the reviews seem too positive.
  2. Check the Website: Verify that the website is secure by looking for "https://" and a padlock icon in the address bar[1]. Avoid sites with numerous pop-up ads and poor design.
  3. Use Secure Payment Methods: Whenever possible, use secure payment methods like credit cards, PayPal, or reputable payment platforms. Avoid wire transfers or prepaid gift cards.
  4. Beware of Unsolicited Messages: Avoid clicking on links or responding to unsolicited text messages or emails claiming to offer amazing deals.
  5. Keep Software Updated: Ensure your computer, smartphone, and antivirus software are up to date to protect against malware and phishing attacks.
  6. Use Strong Passwords: Create strong, unique passwords for each online shopping account to prevent unauthorized access.

Online shopping offers convenience and accessibility, but it also requires caution and awareness. Protecting yourself from online shopping scams is paramount to ensure a positive experience.

By researching sellers, checking website security, using secure payment methods, avoiding unsolicited messages, keeping your software updated, and using strong passwords, you can fortify your online shopping defenses. Stay vigilant, trust your instincts, and remember that a little caution can go a long way in safeguarding your online purchases credit card, and personal information.

How To Report Online Shopping Scam Sites

If you suspect that you've encountered an online shopping scam, it's essential to report it. Reporting scams helps authorities take action against scammers and protect others. You can report scams to organizations like the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) using their online reporting tools[2].

Additionally, if you're a Centier Bank client and shared any information, you can report the scam and seek financial guidance and support from Centier Bank.

Say Goodbye to Purchase Scams on the Internet

Online shopping is a convenient way to find great deals and unique products, but it's crucial to stay vigilant and cautious. By recognizing the warning signs, practicing safe online shopping habits, and reporting fraudulent schemes, you can protect yourself and others from falling victim to online shopping scams. Remember, if a deal seems too good to be true, it's worth investigating further before making a purchase.

If you're looking for a safe and secure place to save your money, consider exploring Centier Bank's financial products and services in Indiana.

For more information and tips to protect yourself visit Centier Bank's security page.



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