BBB says reports of online sales scams have increased since pandemic began

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INDIANAPOLIS — Reports to the Better Business Bureau of online sales scams have gone up since the beginning of 2020 and 80% of those reporting say they lost money.

Sarah Hagan thought she was getting a good deal on a TV stand through Wayfair.com, but she actually ended up on a third party website.

“A thing came up and said, ‘This item is on clearance, would you like the clearance price?’ and I hit yes. Well, I didn’t realize that it took me to a different website,” Hagan said.

Hagan paid almost $200 and the TV stand never arrived. She said the scammers even impersonated PayPal to make everything seem legitimate.

“That was the first time I’ve ever ordered anything online,” Hagan said. “I felt stupid that I had done something like that.”

With holiday shopping season on the horizon, BBB of Central Indiana CEO Tim Maniscalo said it’s important to pay attention to the website before you buy.

“[Scammers are] very good at making a website look like a legitimate website,” Maniscalo said.

Maniscalo suggested looking at the website URL for “https” and a lock icon to make sure you’re on a secure site. You should also watch out for deals that seem too good to be true and websites that appear to originate in foreign countries.

“Look for things like misspelled words or awkward sort of grammar,” Maniscalo said.

Hagan disputed the charge through her bank and got her money back. She wanted to warn other online shoppers to pay attention before buying anything from a website that’s not familiar.

“Don’t be like me and just click yes because it’s a discount,” Hagan said.

You can search for scams and report any scam you come across at the BBB’s ScamTracker website by clicking the link here.

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