Online purchase scams; BBB warns of the dangers of holiday shopping – CBS Tampa
Atlanta, Georgia (CW69 News at 10)
Online purchase scams now account for more than a third of all fraud reports submitted to The best office work (BBB). Four out of five consumers who report such scams lose money, making it the number one type of fraud among the most serious.
The BBB is warning consumers ahead of the holiday shopping season to find out how fraudsters deceive consumers, whether they are actively shopping or browsing passively.
The Online Purchase Scam Report 2021 BBB It examines more than 55,000 online purchase fraud reports submitted to the BBB Scar Tracker between 2015 and 2021 and new prospective research conducted in 2021 to gain insights from those who reported online purchase scams in 2020 and 2021.
Online purchase scams consistently rank among the top three riskiest since 2017, and a large number of people still lose money when online purchase scams target them (74.8% in 2021). The average dollar loss for this type of fraud has increased in recent years, from $76 in 2019 to $102 so far in 2021.
Experts anticipate an early start to the 2021 holiday shopping season due to supply chain concerns, microchip shortages and holiday hiring. BBB warns that scammers will find ways to take advantage of the situation by changing product categories, taking advantage of what people are searching for online, and focusing on more sought-after gifts such as electronics, toys and other trendy gifts.
“These critical findings can help guide our fraud prevention education at those most vulnerable to these types of fraud,” said Melissa Trumpauer, executive director of the BBB Institute for Marketplace Trust, the BBB Foundation. “Online purchase scams don’t just affect those who lose money. For every victim who lost money, this has meant less income to buy groceries or gifts, pay a utility bill, or lose personal information that could lead to identity theft.”
Each year, the BBB Institute releases the BBB Message Tracker Risk Report, which analyzes the previous year’s data. Since the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, online purchase scams have jumped along with the increase in online shopping. The BBB took a deeper dive into the data by surveying people who reported scams to ask them more about their situation.
Whether the consumer was actively shopping for a product or browsing passively, this activity appears to have had an impact on vulnerability. Sixty-four percent of survey respondents actively searched for a product when they lost money in an online purchase scam. Thirty-six percent of those who lost money were passively researching or not researching.
When it came time to place an order and expect the item to be shipped, 32% of those surveyed reported receiving shipment tracking information that appeared authentic, 30% received fake shipping information, 2% received shipping information they did not verify, and 36% did not receive shipping information. Several survey participants noted that they did not suspect a scam at first because they expected shipping delays due to the pandemic.
An analysis of online purchase fraud reports submitted to BBB Scar Tracker found that fraudsters have used more than 400 different types of products to commit fraud. Pets and pet supplies were the most risky sales categories in 2020. Nearly 35% of online purchase fraud reports were related to pets, with 70% of people losing their money and an average dollar loss of $750. The French Bulldog was the best breed used to perpetuate puppy scams.
For tips on how to avoid online shopping scams, visit BBB.org/OnlinePurchaseScams
To report a scam, go to BBB.org/ScamTracker.