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How to protect yourself online from getting scammed by fake shopping sites

State employee mistakenly distributes porn link
Posted at 4:55 AM, Dec 20, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-20 08:54:11-05

Make sure you look closely at the shopping sites you choose online. Are they really what they seem?

Fake shopping sites are luring shoppers this time of year.

They can be knockoffs of real sites like the one ABC15 saw after a consumer shared it.

It's a "Best Buy Geek Squad" site with a phone number for computer repair.

ABC15 called and was told the person was a Best Buy employee offering plans that started at just $1.99. When he wanted access to a computer about a virus, that was a clear indicator that he was a fake. Best Buy confirmed the site wasn't theirs.

In a Better Business Bureau study, online purchase scams ranked as the number one riskiest scam type last year, making up 30% of all of the BBB's Scamtracker reports.

ABC15 asked people at a Phoenix shopping center if they had ever been scammed shopping online.

One woman said it happened to her several times.

"It's usually Instagram ads that get me and then I make the purchase and it never comes and I have to call my card company and dispute the charges," she said.

A lot of this does start through social media where clicking on an ad leads you to a fake site.

You may get nothing for your money. You could get a shoddy product or even viruses planted on your computer.

What are some warning signs?

  • Strange or misspelled web addresses
  • Prices much lower than other sites
  • 5-start reviews that seem irrelevant and made up
  • Unusual payment methods like cash apps

What can you do to protect yourself?
You can search the website name through the Google Transparency report site to see if Google found issues and always try to pay with a credit card.

Remember, if you send money through a cash app, you can't get it back, but you have 60 days to dispute credit card charges.