Three Common Online Shopping Scams

person typing on laptop and using credit card to shop online

Online shopping has changed the global retail landscape forever. Rather than making lengthy treks to brick-and-mortar stores with no guarantee the shop will have the desired item in stock, consumers can buy almost anything they can imagine any time of day with only a few clicks. However, there is always risk involved when a customer cannot verify a product’s quality before buying. This makes online shopping a lucrative way for scammers to make money. Consumers should always be on the lookout for these online shopping scams.

Fraudulent Reviews

It’s always good practice to exercise caution when purchasing an unfamiliar product online or buying from a new retailer. One of the simplest ways consumers check the shop and product quality before they buy is to read online reviews. Unfortunately, scammers have caught on. A common way scams make it past a consumer’s online shopping defenses is by posting fake reviews. Often, fraudulent shops will pay for hundreds of fake reviews or will make several accounts to post the reviews themselves.

Although consumers seek out the most positively reviewed products, a product with only generic five-star reviews is a major red flag. Shoppers who are browsing reviews will likely find the most success by viewing both positive and negative reviews. Even the best shop will have several four-star reviews and perhaps a couple of unsatisfied customers. For even more legitimacy, online shopping clients hoping to avoid scams should seek out reviews with customer photos of the product.

Fake Products

Perhaps you’ve looked everywhere for a certain product. After days or weeks of trying to find an online listing that won’t break the bank, you discover an almost too-good-to-be-true price for exactly the item you wanted. You know what they say – if it seems too-good-to-be-true, it probably is. Reputable retailers know what their product is worth and will list it for a fair price. Scams often find those in-demand items and list them for unbelievably cheap prices to entice hordes of customers to pay. Unfortunately for the consumers, the product they receive will likely be of subpar quality, if you receive a product at all.

Sketchy Shop Policies

Once online shopping scams have your money, they are very unlikely to let it go for any reason other than legal action. Scammers aren’t stupid, though. They know legitimate shops always have a return or refund policy available for review by customers before they buy. To appear more reputable, these scams may advertise policies that require the dissatisfied customer to contact the shop via email or phone. Once an unhappy customer reaches out, though, they may never hear back or will be given the run-around until they eventually give up. Keep in mind that not all small online shopping retailers are scams simply because they ask customers to directly contact them. If the shop seems trustworthy, otherwise, they may be a perfectly acceptable option.

Defending Consumers Against Online Shopping Scams and Fraudulent Practices

Online shopping has become a fact of life for Americans, but scams shouldn’t be. McCune Wright Arevalo, LLP, (MWA) has more than 30 years of experience litigating on behalf of wronged consumers. Our team of Government UDAP Civil Penalties attorneys specialize in protecting the rights of customers in the marketplace against unscrupulous companies large and small. With more than $1 billion recovered for our clients, we can assist you in attaining justice. If you believe you’ve been scammed by an online retailer, contact MWA today to schedule your free consultation!

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