Online Scams - Warning Signs - How To Protect Yourself
Description: Public Service Announcement from SECOM - A SECO News Founding Advertising Contributor and The Southeast Colorado Internet Service Provider of Choice.
Online scams involve scammers pretending to be legitimate online sellers, either with a fake website or a fake ad on a genuine retailer site.
How these scams work
- Scammers use the anonymous nature of the internet to rip off unsuspecting shoppers. Using the latest technology to set up fake websites that look like genuine online services. They may use sophisticated designs and layouts and possibly stolen logos.
- A product is advertised at an unbelievably low price, or advertised to have amazing benefits or features that sound too good to be true.
- The other party insists on immediate payment, or payment by electronic funds transfer or a wire service.
- The social media-based store is very new and selling products at very low prices. The store may have limited information about delivery and other policies.
- An online retailer does not provide adequate information about privacy, terms and conditions of use, dispute resolution or contact details.
How to protect yourself
- Check if the website or social media page has a refund or returns policy, and that their policies sound fair. The better online shopping and auction sites have detailed complaint or dispute handling processes in case something goes wrong.
- Find out exactly who you are dealing with.
- When making online payments, only pay for items using a secure payment service—look for a URL starting with ‘https’ and a closed padlock symbol, or a payment provider such as PayPal.
Think twice before using virtual currencies such as bitcoin—they do not have the same protections as other transaction methods so you can’t get your money back once you send it.
- Avoid any arrangement with a stranger that asks for up-front payment via money order, wire transfer, international funds transfer, pre-loaded card or electronic currency, like Bitcoin. It is rare to recover money sent this way. Never send money or give credit card or online account details to anyone you don’t know or trust.