Don’t Get Ripped Off This Holiday Season! SD BBB Safe Shopping Tips
There are so many moving parts to this holiday season; supply chain problems, labor shortages, higher prices. Finding the must-have gift or hot toy this year could be a real struggle.
Much like last year, you need to be thinking ahead. Way ahead! Especially if you're on the hunt for electronics, clothing, the aforementioned hot toys, and other products which "will be (or already are) in short supply", according to Jessie Schmidt, Director of the Better Business Bureau in Sioux Falls.
More people than ever are expected to be shopping online too, and that means even more opportunities for scammers to separate you from your money!
"These scams accounted for nearly 40% of all scams reported to BBB Scam Tracker in 2020." And because much needed and wanted items could be in short supply more people could fall prey to these scams.
- Research before you buy - Use BBB.org and shopper reviews to do your homework before paying. Get tips on how to spot a phony review here.
- If a deal looks too good to be true, it probably is - Don't shop based on price alone.
- Beware of fake websites - Check the URL, watch for bad grammar and misspellings, research the age of the domain and search for contact information. You'll find tips for identifying a fake website here.
- Professional photos do not mean it's a real offer - Some of the most successful scammers use these photos to fleece people shopping for pets, pet supplies, clothing & accessories, and vehicles.
- Make sure the website is secure- Look for the "https" in the URL (the "s" stands for secure) and the small lock icon on the address bar. Never make a payment or share personal info on a website with only "http", it is not secure.
- Be careful purchasing sought-after products, especially during the holiday season- Scammers offer the most popular products for the season at unbelievable prices. So don't believe them!
- Beware of making quick purchases while scrolling through social media - Scammers have tools to learn about your buying behaviors and then target you.
- Look for the BBB seal - BBB Accredited Businesses pledge to uphold the BBB Standards for Trust and to deal fairly with consumers. You can verify a business's BBB seal here.
- Use secure and traceable transactions and payment methods - Research indicates that those paying with a credit card were less likely to lose money. Use caution when paying with a digital wallet app, a prepaid money card, or other non-traditional payment methods
- .Shipment tracking info can be faked - Avoid clicking on the tracking link unless you are sure it is a legit business. Go to the shipper's website and type in the code to see if it is real.
For more information, to report a scam, or get more safe shopping tips, see Better Business Bureau South Dakota.
Source: Jessie Schmidt, Director of Better Business Bureau, Sioux Falls, South Dakota