PHILADELPHIA - A record 78 million Americans are expected to shop online this Cyber Monday, but a warning - this explosion of internet shopping has also given rise to an explosion of online shopping scams.
There are a lot of tempting ads online, especially on social media sites like Facebook and Instagram. But before you buy - beware.
When Kim Russo walks her dogs, she usually brings along her favorite insulated cup. So she wanted to give some as gifts and after seeing a deal for them on a Facebook ad in August, she ordered 9 of them for around $140 dollars. But so far, no cups.
"I feel dumb. I definitely feel dumb for sure. You know, it's too good to be true," she said.
Consumer Reports says if you've never heard of the site, do some research before you buy.
"A good place to start is the Better Business Bureau where you can note any complaints. The BBB also says use extreme caution when ordering from a company whose existence can't be verified, as may have been the case with Kim," said Octavio Blanco, Consumer Reports Money Editor.
"There is no way to get in touch with them, there's no phone number, no mailing address," said Kim.
Another good source of information: online user reviews. Type the name of the company and keywords 'review' and 'complaint.' This sports gear company for instance has several customers who claim they received knock-offs.
"Also be careful when making purchases on Craigslist or other virtual bulletin boards. The key to trust here is buy local," said Octavio.
Craigslist advises never sending money to someone you haven't met. And arrange any meetings in a public place. For instance in some towns the police designate a safe zone for such transactions.
Another scam can come in an email purporting to be from a delivery service like Fedex or the US Postal Service. It states you have a package and asks for personal information to enable delivery. Don't give it.
Legitimate delivery companies do not ask for this type of information. USPS will usually attempt delivery in person.
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