Beware of online shopping scams


DANE COUNTY, Wisconsin (WMTV) – The holiday shopping season is just around the corner and many will be shopping online this year.

With supply chain issues and shortages, experts say crooks will take advantage. The Better Business Bureau warns against online shopping scams.

According to a new report, online shopping scams now account for over a third of all scams reported to the BBB.

The BBB tracks down scams through its Scam tracker. Data compiled from 2015 to 2021 revealed that four in five consumers who report an online scam lose money.

Over 55,000 online shopping scams have been reported to the BBB since 2015.

Consumers have complained that they lose money after purchasing a product online and later find out that the website or business is not legitimate.

BBB Wisconsin officials say scammers are getting better at cheating people online and anyone can be in danger.

“Usually we think of the elderly losing money. In this case, the 18-24 age group is the target group for these online shopping scams and they are losing an average of $ 125 compared, which is staggering and these numbers continue to rise, ”he said. said Tiffany Bernhardt Schultz, Regional Director of BBB Wisconsin Southwest.

A woman in the town of Sun Prairie recently lost money to online scammers.

Gena Goldade says she worked in IT and for the Wisconsin consumer protection agency. She says that even with this knowledge, she has found that online crooks stay one step ahead.

“It’s hard to know what’s legit and what’s a scam,” said Goldade who lost nearly $ 60 when she ordered a set of food storage containers from a website she found by scrolling through Facebook.

She says the company was called Food Bunker and the website looked real. She received a confirmation email after the purchase, but weeks went by and she never received her order. She made several attempts to join the company, but could not and never got her money back.

Goldade filed a report with the BBB and found that Food Bunker has consistently disappointed consumers. The BBB has 72 complaints on file for the food bunker. Schultz says Goldade’s story is just one of many stories linked to a slight increase in online scams. Many consumers are targeted by social media ads.

“Over 35% of the reports in the BBB Scam Tracker were related to online shopping scams and 75% of those targets lost money,” Schultz said.

Before the holiday shopping season, consumers are cautioned to be careful. If you come across a website that you don’t know, don’t immediately assume it’s a scam. It could be a small business or a new business trying to make online sales during the pandemic. It can also be wrong.

Take the time to do some research before making a decision. Check out the BBB for company information and do a quick online search to see what other sites are found when the company name is typed into a search engine. Use the information you find to make an informed decision.

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