RALEIGH, N.C. – Whether it’s new supplies for school, furniture for your home, or clothes for vacation, spending is high during the Summer months. Since online shopping is only becoming more frequently relied on by consumers, BBB Serving Eastern North Carolina (BBB) is warning consumers about online purchasing scams. So far in 2022, 44 people have lost almost $14,000 in BBB’s 33-county service area to scams related to online shopping. 

In 2023, approximately 300 million Americans are expected to shop online, which is over 90% of the country’s population. While buying online is convenient, it can also be risky. It’s important to be extra vigilant when browsing for goods online in order to keep your money safe.

BBB offers the following tips on how to avoid online shopping fraud:

  • Check out the business

·         You can find a business’s rating and accreditation status on BBB.org

·         Do an internet search with the company’s name and the word “scam” to see if there are other complaints about the business.

  • Look at reviews

·         Scammers will post fake positive reviews on their site to attract customers. Bad reviews are more likely to be real, so check those first. One trusted place to see legitimate reviews is on BBB.org.

  • Keep track of what you order

·         When you order something, keep track of the site you purchased it on. Take a screenshot of the items ordered and save emails with receipts and order confirmations.

  • Pay using a credit card or PayPal.

·         These options provide more protection against fraud.

Report online shopping scams:

  • File a complaint with BBB or report a scam on the Scam Tracker.
  • File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission on their site or by calling 877-FTC-Help.
  • Report policy violations or suspicious activity on social media platforms to those sites, such as Facebook or Instagram.   
  • Report suspicious activity on Amazon.
  • Report scams on Google.
  • If you used PayPal, call (888) 221-1161 to speak with a live person instead of using its automated system if you receive an item that is not as advertised. 
  • If you used a credit card, call the phone number on the back of your card to report fraud and request your money back. 

For more information, you can trust, visit BBB.org.