The Nebraska Attorney General, OCIO, and the Nebraska Department of Banking join together to encourage consumers to be especially vigilant when shopping online.
In the past 30 days, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and, more recently, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) have both issued warnings regarding a recent increase in online shopping scams.
According to the FBI, those affected by the scam were led to “imposter” websites that looked like legitimate businesses from social media or a search engine’s “shopping” page. The equipment purchased at a discount on these sites included gym equipment, small appliances, tools and furniture, none of which was delivered.
To avoid being victimized, consider the following recommendations:
- Do your homework on the seller to ensure they are legitimate.
- Type the name of the online seller into a search engine with words like “scam” or “complaint.” – FTC
- If while browsing you get a pop-up message that asks for your financial information, don’t reply or follow the link.
- Watch out for unfamiliar sites selling products in short supply or name brand goods at steep discounts. – FTC
- Know what the product should cost – if a price appears too good to be true, it probably is.
- Pay by credit card and contact your card company to dispute the charges if a seller doesn’t deliver your goods or they are not as promised. – FTC
- Make sure your personal and payment information is being encrypted – look for both a web address that begins with “https:” and the appearance of a closed padlock icon.
- Do not send cash or money transfers under any circumstances.
- Confirm the online seller’s physical address and phone number in case you have questions or problems.
- Keep a record of your purchases and compare them to your bank statements. If there is a discrepancy, report it immediately to the seller and request a correction. – Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA)
The Nebraska Attorney General has a consumer protection website offering additional tips for protecting yourself against scams and safeguarding your personal information.