New Yorkers Beware: Cyber Monday Scams Lurking on Biggest Online Shopping Day
NEW YORK, Nov. 21, 2012
AARP Advises How to Avoid Falling Prey to Online Shopping Scams
NEW YORK, Nov. 21, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --Cyber Monday has emerged in
recent years as a convenient way to get great holiday shopping deals from the
comfort of your home and avoid having to brave the crowds on Black Friday or
rise before daybreak to save money on those must-have gifts.
However, buyer beware. Scams abound online, and Cyber Monday is a time to be
particularly vigilant about protecting yourself from becoming a victim of
online theft. AARP's consumer expert, Sid Kirchheimer offers tips on how to
shop safely at home on Cyber Monday.
Surfing for gifts in cyberspace can be risky, courtesy of copycat websites
that shoppers sometimes visit inadvertently after typing the name of that
sought-after item into a search engine.
Although legitimate online retailers pop up on the screen, so do
"cybersquatters," bogus businesses that steal or alter the Internet addresses
of well-known companies to launch copycat sites.
Some are simply fronts for scammers to collect shoppers'credit card numbers.
Others actually sell things, but their "incredible deals," if delivered at
all, are usually poorly made knockoffs.
How to Shop Safely Online
oWhen you click through to a website, carefully read the domain name — the
Internet address — that appears at the top of your browser. Beware of any
site whose name has even the slightest change from a legitimate online
retailer's — extra words or letters, misspellings — and anything but the
usual .com or .org ending.
oMake sure that addresses of ordering pages always begin with "https://"
instead of "http://." The "s" means it is secure.
oPay attention to disclosures at the bottom of the page. Most legitimate
online retailers have a "Contact Us" page with a phone number and physical
address, and a "Terms and Conditions" link detailing return policies and
such. Bogus websites may lack these pages or have them but not tell you
what you need to know.
oAvoid any website that doesn't provide a physical address, which you can
verify by looking up the company on the Internet, or a phone number. Scam
sites often allow only for e-mail correspondence, which makes for better
hiding in cyberspace. If a phone number is listed, call it to ensure it's
not a fax machine or voicemail with no live operator — two more red flags
for a potential scam.
oWatch for "scammer grammar." Although legitimate retailers may not
moonlight for Webster's dictionary, their websites tend to be absent of
the frequent misspellings and grammatical errors of the websites, ads and
e-mail of scammers, who are often foreigners with poor command of English
or fly-by-nights with little time to spell-check while trying to stay one
step ahead of the law.
oReject any requests for wire transfer payment. It's the quickest way to
lose money, especially if it's sent overseas. Legit online retailers
accept credit cards, which offer you more protection than debit
transactions if you need to dispute payment.
oDon't believe sob stories. Beware of "act now" offers that tell you the
seller is a soldier needing cash for possessions before deploying to a war
zone or a recent divorcee wanting to unload her former husband's
belongings. These tactics are often bait to empty your wallet; the items
typically don't exist.
oResearch the prices. Similar items typically fall into a general price
range. If one being offered to you falls way below that range, you need to
ask yourself why. The usual answer: Scammers use ridiculously low prices
to lure consumers into a bogus bargain.
oBe on guard at online auctions. Lost the winning bid on eBay or another
auction website? Don't be taken in by follow-up e-mails offering the same
deal. Scammers often cruise online auction sites to pounce on losing
bidders and direct them away from those secure buying environments.
The tips are courtesy of AARP contributing writer and scam expert Sid
Kirchheimer, the author of Scam-Proof Your Life, published by AARP
AARP has over 2.7 million members in New York.
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SOURCE AARP New York
Contact: David Irwin, +1-202-230-4685, firstname.lastname@example.org, or Chaunda Ball,
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