Online Shopping Could Lead Consumers To Scams, Counterfeit Goods

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The Better Business Bureau issued a warning to online shoppers on Cyber Monday.

BBB officials said that if you type in terms like “cheap,” “discount,” and “outlet,” followed by the name of a product, there is a one-in-five chance that you could end up at a website selling counterfeit items.

On a break from a social work job fair at Ohio State University, Brittany Ward and Hallie Fargnolli used their iPads to shop without leaving their seats.

The two looked at Macy’s, Target and Amazon.

Though the sites Ward and Fargnolli were using were legitimate, BBB officials warned of others.

“Scammers know that we’re out there shopping, and they’re waiting,” said Joan Coughlin of the BBB.

Coughlin said that is why shoppers need to be careful.

The BBB warned shoppers to stay away from sites offering extremely low prices, especially on hard-to-find items.

Blurry and distorted pictures also can be a sign of deception, as can limited product descriptions, sites with missing contact information and bad reviews.

“And so, that one person that misses that one red flag, that’s what they’re looking for,” Coughlin said. “They know that everyone won’t fall for it, but the fact that some people do keep them in business.”

The supposed deals do keep people shopping, though.

“Well, these are normally $1,500 (drum) kits, and I found one marked down to $770, and it’s on sale today for $493,” said Fargnolli. “That’s a huge, huge deal. I’m going to buy it.”

BBB officials also suggested making sure to use secure sites, with https in the web address. Also use credit cards, so if there is a problem, purchases can be disputed.

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