It’s that time of the year again. It’s time to scour the internet for deals on Christmas presents and other holiday shopping errands you need to get done. With the holidays just around the corner, it can be easy to get in a rush and buy things online from less-than-reputable sellers. However, you need to be careful to avoid falling for some common shopping scams.
Here are some tips to help you stay away from the most common scams you might find on the internet. Remember, if any deal looks too good to be true, it probably is.
When you’re shopping online, you need to avoid clicking on links. You might get a text message or email that claims to offer a great discount on items you’ve been struggling to find in stock anywhere else. Don’t just follow these links and assume that you’re on a genuine website. Scammers love to lure people into their traps using eye-popping “deals.”
What you’re usually seeing is a fake website that exists to get your credit card information. These aren’t really web stores; they’re just a front that scrapes your personal information so scammers can steal your identity and go on a shopping spree with your credit card.
Be cautious with direct sales sites like Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist around the holidays. People might list items for sale that seem a bit too good to be true. Sometimes, these people are just scammers hawking fake goods.
Make sure you arrange a meeting in a public place with any online sellers from these sites. Ask them to demonstrate that the item they’re selling is genuine before you hand over any cash. For instance, if they’re selling a cell phone, ask them to power it on and use it to perform some basic tasks before you pay for it.
On the other hand, you might also see some resellers listing hard-to-find items on sites like Amazon or eBay for far above their MSRP. This is common with new video game consoles and PC components–the practice is called “scalping.”
It’s best to avoid giving these scammers any money. They use underhanded tactics to scoop up the entire stock of hard-to-find items and then relist them for a ridiculous markup. The best way to beat these scammers is to not hand them any money at all and let them eat the costs for their ill-advised scheme.