High prices may have you turning to some alternative websites to find your gifts this holiday season.
According to the Better Business Bureau, online shopping scams accounted for nearly 40% of all scams reported last year.
Here are some ways you can shop safely and smartly.
First, if the deal looks too good to be true, it probably is. The top motivating factor for people who made a purchase and lost money was the price. Don’t shop on price alone.
Beware of fake websites. Check the URL, watch for bad grammar and research the age of the domain before buying anything.
When it comes to pictures on websites -- professional doesn’t mean it’s a real offer. Many people say photos caused them to click on certain sites, especially when it came to pet supplies, clothing and vehicles.
You should also be careful of the really popular gifts this season. Scammers often use those products to reel you in and then offer them at sky-high prices to get you to buy them.
If you like to scroll for gifts on social media, be careful. Experts say scammers have the tools they need to learn your buying behaviors and offer exactly what you want at low prices.
And when you go to buy something, it’s better to use a credit card. Those who paid with digital wallet apps, cash or debit were more likely to get scammed.
Once you do make your purchase, you should also watch out for fake shipment tracking information.
Look closely to make sure it’s a legitimate business and one that you actually bought an item from.
To be safe, avoid clicking on the tracking link. Instead, go to the shipper’s website and type in the code to see if it’s real.
If you suspect a scam, you can report it by going to BBB.org/scamtracker.