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Online Shopping Scams

Whatever you're shopping online for, a used car, jewelry, or even clothing, it's important to guard against online shopping scams. According to the FTC, online shopping scams were the second most common fraud category reported by consumers in 2021.

Online scammers are smart. Before you buy, use the online shopping safety tips below to identify online shopping scams so you can avoid them.

10 tips to identify and help protect yourself from online shopping scams

  1. Be on the lookout for fake websites. Only shop on secure websites with good reputations
  2. Use caution when doing business with sellers who insist on immediate payment through payment apps such as Zelle®, Venmo, Cash App, or online wire transfers
  3. Be suspicious of deals with unbelievably low prices that seem too good to be true
  4. Avoid sellers who use pressure tactics to get you to buy right away
  5. Be wary of social media ads that may take you to an unfamiliar shopping site or a social media-based store
  6. Pay with a credit card if you can, especially if you're not familiar with the seller
  7. Set up account alerts and notifications to monitor your account for unusual activity 
  8. Never give out sensitive information such as your bank account number, PIN, or one-time access code 
  9. Search for the seller and the word “scam” to vet them before sending money
  10. Go slow, research the seller carefully, and if something doesn’t feel right, trust your gut and walk away

Shopping online is convenient, fast, and easy. However, it's important to know how to shop safely so you can avoid online shopping scams. By putting these tips into practice, you can feel more confident that you will recognize the signs of a scam.

Remember, it’s better to be cautious and risk losing a deal rather than lose your money. If you think you've been scammed, report the scam right away to your bank and the Federal Trade Commission.

Learn how to recognize common scams and cyber threats.