Here’s how to recognize an online shopping scam.

There are several variations to online shopping scams. In one version, you decide to purchase an item online and complete the transaction. Unfortunately, the article will never show up. If it does, it’s a cheap knockoff of the product, instead of the purchased item. 

In another variation, you find an item online and try to make a purchase. You'll be asked for sensitive info, such as your checking account number. You will be unable to complete the transaction and will run into repeated site errors. Unfortunately, the scammers now have your information and could empty your checking accounts, or worse.

In a third version, you click on an ad, or on a site that comes up in a Google search for one of your favorite stores. You proceed to make an order, not knowing you’ve clicked on a scammer’s fake site. The rest of the scam will follow one of the scenarios described above.

Watch out for these warning signs that you may have stumbled upon a shopping scam:
  • Prices are too good to be true. 
  • The seller demands a specific means of payment. 
  • The website is full of typos. 
Follow these tips to keep yourself safe from online shopping scams:
  • Only shop on safe, secure sites. 
  • Check the URL for the proper spelling of reputable sites to ensure you haven’t landed on a look-a-like site. 
  • Avoid clicking on high-pressure pop-up ads. 
  • Pay with a credit card when shopping online.
  • Never share personal information with an unverified contact.
  • Check your account frequently in online banking to be sure there is no unusual activity. 
  • Financial Planning ahead and creating a budget planner to help avoid impulse buying. 

It is extremely important to be aware of current fraud schemes. If you feel like something doesn't seem right, please reach out and ask your financial institution. Feel free to call the contact center at 850-769-9999 and check.

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