Conn. (WTNH) — Amid the baby formula shortage, parents have been forced to shop online. While this may seem easier, the Better Business Bureau is warning families of potential scammers.
According to the BBB, online shopping scams are the riskiest, as scammers are always watching. These scams often occur in social media groups. The BBB said that when someone within a group says they have baby formula available, the buyer will contact the seller via chat or direct message and show pictures of the formula. However, after the buyer makes a payment through PayPal or Venmo, the formula never arrives.
How can you avoid this from happening? The BBB has a few tips:
- Check the positive reviews on the website
It’s easy to check if the reviews are legitimate, or if they’ve been copied and pasted from another website. While some review sites claim to be independent, they may be funded by scammers.
- Look up the address
Check to see if there is a brick-and-mortar address. Look up the address on Google Maps to see if the location is a parking lot, residence, or unrelated business from what the website lists.
- Re-read the grammar
Scammers easily make grammatical errrors and misspellings. They might also use other descriptive language that isn’t consistent with the product.
While the seller may seem communicative, they often are unreachable after payment clears. See how active they are on social media beforehand.
- Check the site on BBB
Head to BBB.org and check a business’s rating and BBB accredited status. Some imposters have been known to use the BBB seal, which can be detected by clicking on the domain of the URL; real accredited businesses will lead to the company’s profile on BBB.org.
- Do a quick Google search
While it may seem obvious, just try typing in the website’s name plus the word “scam.” This will show other complaints about the site across the web.
- Screenshot your order
Take a screenshot of your order once it has been placed. That way, you can make a claim if a different item than you purchased is received in the mail.
- Use a credit card
Credit cards often provide more protection against fraud than other payment methods, like cash or a debit card, as it’s easily traceable.
Have you been scammed? Report suspected online shopping fraud and make a complaint at BBB.org.