RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – As COVID19 continues to spread, health officials are encouraging people to skip the traditional Black Friday shopping frenzy, and shop online this year. However, the Better Business Bureau has a warning before clicking add to cart, saying online shopping scams have spiked since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This is something that has really exploded,” said Alyssa Parker, Director of Communications for the BBB of Eastern North Carolina.
The BBB says the most common scam is when a retailer offers an attractive deal, but once the payment is made the purchase never arrives.
“There’s this old adage; if it’s too good to be true, it probably is. It definitely rings true. If there’s something that you know is way below market value make sure you do your research,” said Parker.
Paker says more and more often shoppers fall victim to these scams not only from surfing the web, but scrolling through Facebook and Instagram.
“Whether it be Facebook or Instagram, a lot of those ads on there aren’t always from legitimate companies,” she said.
Parker says before making an online purchase, shoppers should research the business to make sure it’s legitimate by looking it up with the BBB.
She recommends checking if the website is secure by looking for the “https” in the URL. The s is for “secure.” She says shoppers should not make a payment or enter personal information into a website with only “http.”
“If you see the website and it’s HTTP and there’s not HTTPS, it’s a huge red flag that the website it not secure and could be made by someone who is not a legitimate organization,” said Parker.
Parker says it’s a good idea to shop with a credit card which offer more protections than a debit card.