7 On Your Side tips: How to scam-proof your online holiday shopping

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Tuesday, December 14, 2021
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7 On Your Side's Nina Pineda shows you how to scam-proof your online shopping.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- There's a big warning this holiday season as frenzied advertisers are coming at you in all forms. From your feed, to your inbox, it's endless.

Most are legit vendors capitalizing on the holiday cyber shoppers, but some are throwing out bait, hoping to you reel in your bucks with bogus businesses.

So how can you detect an online shopping scam before getting ripped off? Check for red flags like a price that's too good to be true for hot, hard-to-get holiday items. And if the seller is requesting immediate payment like Venmo, Zelle, money transfer, or money cards.

"I told him, 'Look I can't get the sneakers,' I was ripped off," said victim Julene Stassou,.

Stassou was the victim of a gift Grinch.

Her son Jake saw some Air Jordans online. They match his team colors and the price was right, less than $80 for the OG high tops which can retail as high as $589 a pair.

"So he sent me a link, I clicked on it, and I ordered them," Stassou said.

The author and nutritionist used her PayPal account to purchase the shoes the day after Thanksgiving.

"I realized they never came," Stassou said. "So I logged into PayPal and I went to email the seller and realized I had been blocked by her."

She said PayPal wouldn't help.

"You end up buying something that's not even there," said Claire Rosenzweig, president of the BBB of Metro New York.

Two-thirds of consumers reporting to Scam Tracker say they were targeted by deceptive ads for a specific product after browsing for it.

Usually, they never got the product or what that they saw wasn't even close to what they got.

"These scammers are good at what they do," Rosenzweig said.

Rosenzweig says complaints are high for services like PayPal not helping with refunds.

That's why you should use a credit card when making purchases. You'll have recourse if there's a dispute.

Plus beware of phony "recent order" alerts. Nina Pineda got one email warning her Amazon account was frozen and a text from Best Buy -- but both were bogus.

"Never click on the link in that message, go to the actual company and find out if there's really a question about your order," Rosenzweig said.

The big takeaway to avoid getting compromised is to only use websites that have an "S" at the end of HTTP, that stands for secure, and make sure you read reviews and not just from one source. They could be fake.

Look up the product and the name of the business and report any fraud both to the company the seller may be spoofing, and report it to the police.

ALSO READ | How to get your money back if you fall for Zelle/bank scam

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