PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – It can be a hectic time of year for retailers as well as shoppers, but it can also be a busy time for the Better Business Bureau.
The bureau says online purchase scams now account for more than a third of all scams reported.READ MORE: Pittsburgh Weather: 1-2 Inches Of Snow Expected Across Western Pennsylvania On Monday
“If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” is a good saying to keep in mind when it comes to online shopping.
Many who are in a rush to get a good deal often find themselves losing much more.
It’s nearly impossible to avoid the many advertisements while shopping online and they’re often found on social media sites.
They’re built to entice you, the shopper, with deep discounts.
Caitlin Driscoll of the Better Business Bureau in western Pennsylvania said the items that are hot for these online scams include shoes and clothing, with Nike being the most impersonated brand.
To avoid becoming a victim, Driscoll suggests shoppers do their research on the item, the company’s website, and not to shop on just price alone.READ MORE: Police: Man In 'Serious' Condition After Hit-And-Run Crash In Munhall
“If you’re seeing something that is supposedly available online at a discounted price, maybe for a hundred dollars cheaper than what it’s being listed typically through a retailer or sold out somewhere but suddenly available through a relatively unknown merchant online at a lower price that should always be a red flag,” Driscoll said.
She also suggests making sure the website is secure and there are no misspellings or words that look off. This includes using verified payment methods so you’re able to trace where the money is going.
However, scammers are good at what they do and they have three things working for them: the ongoing pandemic and people feeling safer shopping online, the holiday season, and product shortages.
Those factors have shoppers rushing to get items and if they’re not careful, they could fall victim to a scam.
“We’re seeing a trend in these online purchase scams where victims are actually receiving fake tracking information too so people don’t realize it’s a scam until later once it’s been well beyond the point the product should’ve arrived that they realize it was fabricated information, to begin with,” Driscoll added.
She recommended, if possible, going to a physical store so you can check the product out before buying.MORE NEWS: Child Injured After Driver Crashes Into Home In McKeesport
If you feel you’ve been a victim of an online shopping scam, you can file a report with the Better Business Bureau at this link.