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Fraud & Scam Trends

What Is an Online Shopping Scam?

November 17th, 2023 | 3 min. read

What Is an Online Shopping Scam?

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what is an online shopping scam?Bubble - Online Shopping

Online shopping scams are fraudulent practices carried out by cybercriminals to deceive unsuspecting customers into paying for goods or services that don't exist, are counterfeit, or will never be delivered. As e-commerce continues to grow, so does the sophistication and prevalence of these scams, especially during high-traffic shopping seasons like the holidays!

Scammers often set up fake stores or listings on popular social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok, or even on trusted online marketplaces. They lure customers with attractive holiday deals, flash sales, or limited-time offers. Once payment is received, they often disappear without delivering the promised goods or services.


common examples of online shopping scams

Counterfeit Goods

Scammers create convincing listings for high-demand products at significantly lower prices. These items, however, are usually counterfeit, of poor quality, or not as described. 


Non-delivery Scams

 The scammer takes payment but never ships the product. They might provide fake shipping information or delay delivery times until it's too late for the customer to dispute the charges.

Take a look at this example of a 'missed delivery notice' email scam to understand what it looks like.


Phishing Scams

Scammers mimic legitimate websites or send emails posing as reputable companies to steal personal information or financial details. Delve into the depths of phishing for a comprehensive understanding.

 What is Phishing?


ways you can avoid shopping scams

  • Shop from Reputable Sources: Stick to well-known, established online retailers. If you're considering purchasing from a new store, do a quick online search to check for any negative reviews or complaints.
  •  Verify Website Authenticity: Always double-check the website URL for any misspellings or unusual characters. Secure websites should start with 'https' instead of 'http', and often feature a padlock icon in the address bar.
  •  Read User Reviews: User reviews can provide valuable insights into the product quality and seller's credibility. Be wary of listings with no reviews or only positive reviews as they could be fake.
  •  Use Secure Payment Methods: Avoid sellers who insist on wire transfers, cryptocurrencies, or other non-standard payment methods. Using a credit card or trusted online payment service can provide additional protection.
  •  Regularly Review Your Accounts: Keep an eye on your bank and credit card accounts for any unauthorized charges. If you spot anything suspicious, report it immediately to your bank or credit card company.

Remember, if a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. Stay vigilant and informed to enjoy a safe online shopping experience.


Are you ready to learn more about the scams to watch out for this holiday season?

 2023 Holiday Scams to Avoid




As the Content Specialist and author of the Learning & Guidance Center, Yanna enjoys motivating others by uncovering all that's possible in the world of finance. From financial tips and tricks to ultimate guides and comparison charts, she is obsessed with finding ways to help readers excel in their journey towards financial freedom.


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