BBB reports spike in online shopping scams

As shoppers moved online after the pandemic hit so did scammers.

BBB reports spike in online shopping scams
The BBB says that this year people are more likely than ever to have lost money to scammers while shopping online. (Source: WAFF)

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - This year, nearly 40 percent of folks who reported being victims of a scam said they were defrauded while shopping online, according to a Better Business Bureau report.

That’s up from less than 25 percent last year.

Victims of online shopping scams were most likely to be taken in by exceptionally good pricing, according to the report. Following the outbreak of COVID-19 and the subsequent product shortages, the second biggest motivating factor became the availability of items.

On average, victims lost $93 per scam.

Typically, these scams occurred when someone purchased something online and never received the item or the service. In other cases, scammers pretended to buy an item by sending a fake check, and then asked for a refund of an “accidental” overpayment. The victim then sent the refund from their account before realizing the check was fake.

Nearly a third of victims first learned about the fraudulent product on Facebook. Another third learned about the scam via Google. Seventeen percent learned about the product on a specific website, and 9 percent first encountered the scam on Instagram.

The types of crimes reported to the BBB has changed significantly in recent years, according to the report. This year, 64 percent of scams that resulted in loss of money were from online purchases. In 2015, these scam types comprised only 13 percent of all scams reported with a monetary loss.

A lot has changed this year, but somethings never change. Whether you’re shopping in-store or online: buyer beware.

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