BBB warns holidaymakers to take care of internet grinches

BUFFALO, NY (WIVB) – Supply shortages are convincing holidaymakers to start early this year, and the Better Business Bureau is calling for extra caution when shopping online.

The Better Business Bureau says that with so many consumers turning to the Internet, you are more likely to be cheated if you buy something online than any other transaction. And if you get ripped off, it’s going to get harder to get your money back.

Internet scams come in all shapes and sizes, employment scams, identity theft, social security scams, but now the Better Business Bureau has found the ripoff that is the most prevalent on the web is online shopping.

“It used to be employment fraud, but because everyone started shopping online during the pandemic, many retailers were closed, we just saw such an increase in it,” said Melanie McGovern, Better Business Bureau.

Melanie McGovern, of the Better Business Bureau, told us BBB’s recent results show that more than one in three internet scams involve a purchase and it’s almost impossible to get any of your money back.

Top of the list – pet scams.

‘It is still pervasive as it was during the pandemic. People do not do the research, they fall in love with a dog, they watch online and give money. We just had someone in the Albany area last month lose $ 800 in a pet scam, ”McGovern said.

McGovern told us a big reason why people get scammed, it can take a long time before they find out they have been scammed. The long delays in shipping, especially on the West Coast, are actually serious.

“So when they ordered a product and it did not come right away, they did not necessarily report it to us right away, but then they realized, wait a minute, I do not think I will ever get this product. So it was like a perfect storm of things that led to online shopping scams topping our most risky scam list, ”McGovern added.

McGovern says the safest way to pay is with a credit card, as opposed to a debit card, prepaid, card or person-to-person payment app, and do your homework before making that purchase.

“If you have time for that, there are sites you can search for to see how old a site is, how long it has been around. If it’s really new and they seem to have the products that no one can get, it’s a clear red flag that it’s a scam, ”McGovern said.

The Internet just seems to know all your business, so when you start your search for a product, McGovern says you’ll start seeing ads. Her advice, check with the BBB to find out which ads are fake and which are legitimate.

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