Whether you're thinking about purchasing event tickets, adopting an animal or just browsing the web, be cautious if you see an online promotion that sounds too good to be true - it probably is.
Scammers set up fake stores selling fake goods, and after you've made your purchase, the store suddenly disappears. They may use social media platforms to contact you and build a relationship, telling you about an offer that's hard to resist, then instructing you to download an app or send money to take advantage of the offer.
How to help protect yourself:
- Slow down and use caution if pressured to act quickly - scammers want you to act without thinking about the consequences.
- Research the seller and products independently, check reviews for possible scam notices, and compare prices with other websites. Make sure they have a refund policy, information on privacy terms and conditions, and ways you can contact them.
- Verify the website by looking carefully at the URL address bar or domain name to ensure you are visiting the correct domain and not a fake. Look for secure URLs (https://), and while an encrypted site does not guarantee safety - beware of buying from sites with no encryption.
- Use caution if asked to pay using untraceable means such as a wire, money transfer or gift card. If you do, you may not receive your purchase or the return of your money.