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Every day we connect with stores and merchants through websites, shopping apps, and social media. Most of these are safe and run by real businesses.
But anything that is popular and easy to use can attract criminals and online shopping is no exception.
Online criminals may try to sell you fraudulent foods. Some target online experiences, such as gaming sites, to trick users out of money or personal information.
They may odder you products or services at a discount. Some will make you think your’re buying a name-brand or designer item but they they’ll send you fakes, or nothing at all.
So how can you protext yourself and those you love?
Safety starts by slowing down.
Whether you’re biying goods or services from a website, a shoppoing app or responding to a pip-up ad, first look for signs that the seller is for real.
While there is no one feature to look for, here are some tips that can help you shop safely.
Here are some things to look for when you’re visiting a seller’s website:
Does the site look clean and professional? Or does it look sloppy? As if someone created it quickly.
Does the trext contain obvious spelling mistakes or incorrect word choices? Is there contact information, such as a phone number? If ther is, try verifying that it belongs to the company and is a real number.
Are there product or company reviews on the seller's site, or on the web? An internet search can reveal whether there have been complaints about this company.
Does the seller have good return or exchange policies? Does the website URL address have an S at the end of http? This means the site is encrypted. An encrypted site does not guarantee safety, but you should be careful about buying anything from sites with no encryption.
On social media, enticing ads for clever or attractive products pop up all the time. Here are a few things to look for before you get serious about buying something they advertise.
First, try to make sure these ads belong to a real company. Search for the company online to see if they have their own site or online shop. Look at the terms and conditions of the sale, especially for free trial or limited time offers.
If you don't see any terms and conditions, the offer may not be safe. Do an internet search of the company name and complain. This can help you determine if the company has a history of scamming other people. Whenever you're downloading or using shopping apps, here are a few things to look for. Look at the app closely before you download and use it. Check the spelling of the company name. Are you sure it's the name-brand you recognize? Is the logo right?
Even established app stores may link to apps that are slightly different from apps owned by real merchants. Don't assume an app you've downloaded from a legitimate app store is safe. Criminals can sometimes load fraudulent apps to these stores.
No matter how you're buying online, apply some common sense. Is the deal too good to be true? Name-brand items for 85% off? That could be a warning sign. Is someone from the seller's company contacting you for payment information or special deals?
This is often a red flag. Remember, taking a few moments to look closely before you click on a link or type in your credit card number, can help you spot the threats and stay safe.
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5475686 - 03/02/2024
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