It was the riskiest scam of 2020, according to the BBB
UTAH (ABC4) – The Better Business Bureau reports that online shopping is the riskiest scam of 2020, and new research shows the most common site it comes from is one that almost everyone uses at least a few times a week, Facebook.
Steve Baker, BBB International Investigations Specialist, told ABC4 that many scams start with a victim seeing an advertisement for a product on social media, a product that does not exist or is not at all what the consumer thought to buy.
“People don’t get anything at all, they get something that’s counterfeit, or they get a cheap counterfeit instead of what they ordered and paid for,” Baker said.
The problem was further compounded when the pandemic struck. In 2019, more than 9,000 reports were filed with the BBB concerning online purchases. In 2020, it almost doubled to just under 18,000 claims. Baker said the pandemic can only be partly to blame.
“Even though the pandemic has receded, I mean the stores are open. There has been a huge increase in scams,” Baker said.
Before buying, you should ask the following questions:
- How old is the website?
- You can check it using ScamAdviser.com
- If the site is new, experts say it’s a red flag
- Have people filed complaints against the company?
- Look up the company name on the BBB website
- What are the opinions?
- If you’re buying from a site like Amazon or Ebay, check out one star reviews.
- How do you pay for it?
- The BBB says the safest bet is to pay with a credit card, because if there is a problem your credit card company may be able to pick it up for you.
Another problem Baker sees is with consumers. Baker said people were not reporting the problem. While admitting that you’ve been scammed can be embarrassing, Baker said the worst thing you can do is not report it to the police and the BBB.
“We really need it because law enforcement is looking for role models and hopefully doing something and helping to obey your friends. Your neighbors’ relatives should also be ripped off, ”said Baker.