The Better Business Bureau is
Valley residents to be on the lookout for stores selling electronics
online at low
officials say they have
received reports about three online businesses: Discount Store Outlet, Net
Discount Store, and Ediscountsnetwork. All three businesses operate
similar-looking websites that advertise popular electronics such as phone
chargers, earbuds, and video game equipment.
Consmers have complained that the sellers fail to deliver
purchased items after payment has been sent in.
“Year after year, online purchase scams are the type of fraud most
frequently reported to our ScamTrackerSM program,” said Claire
Rosenzweig, president and CEO of the Metro New York BBB. “Don’t get pulled in by online
deals that are too good to be true.”
offers these tips for safe online shopping:
- Beware of too-good-to-be-true deals. Offers on websites and in unsolicited emails may offer
free or very low prices on hard-to-find items. There may be hidden costs,
or your purchase may sign you up for a monthly charge without your
knowledge. Look for – and carefully review – the fine print.
- Know the advertiser. It’s easy for a fake site to mimic a famous retailer’s
website, so make sure you are shopping with a legitimate site. If the site
is missing contact information, that is a red flag. If a phone number is
listed, call it to verify its legitimacy before your purchase. Check out retailers
at BBB.org before you shop.
- Think before you click. Be especially cautious about email solicitations and
online ads on social media sites. Many sketchy retailers advertise great
deals or trendy clothing that don’t measure up to the promotional
links may be loaded with malware or lead to scam sites, subjecting you to
potential identity theft.
- Check a site’s security settings. While not a guarantee, if the site is secure, its URL (web
address) should start with https://
and include a lock icon on the purchase or shopping cart page. Be sure to
locate and review the Security Policy on the site and understand how they
will be protecting your information – do they use encryption?
- Check the start date on unfamiliar websites. Copy the website’s URL and check it with an online WHOIS tool, to see where and when the website was
registered. Be very cautious if a site was created only recently or appears
to be based in another country.
- Review the details. When shopping online, be sure to take your time and read
the fine print before submitting your order. Look for the return
policy; although many online orders can be
returned for a full refund, others have restocking fees. Be wary of
additional hidden fees that may not be transparently disclosed. Some items
cannot be returned; know before you buy.
- Protect personal information. Read a site’s privacy
policy and understand what personal
information is being requested and how it will be used. Check if you have
the ability to opt-out from sharing your information with third parties.
be a scam.
- Shop with a credit card. In case of a fraudulent transaction, a credit card
provides additional protections; it’s easier to dispute charges that you
didn’t approve or to get money back if there is a problem. Debit cards,
prepaid cards or gift cards don’t have the same protections as a credit
card. If a seller requires payment through wire transfer or pre-paid gifts
cards only, that’s a huge red flag to just walk away.
- Keep documentation of your order. Save a copy of the confirmation page or email confirmation
until you receive the item and are satisfied. Be sure to know and understand
policy before placing your order and keep this
documented with your purchase records. According to the FTC, when you shop
online, sellers are supposed to ship your order within the time stated in
their ads or within 30 days if the ads don’t give a time. If a seller
can’t ship within the promised time, they have to give you a revised
shipping date, with the chance to either cancel your order for a full
refund or accept the new shipping date.
- Keep a clean machine. Install a firewall, anti-malware, anti-virus, and
anti-spyware software for network
security. Check for and install the latest
updates and run virus scans regularly on your computer, tablet, and smart