Online shopping brings convenience and ease to the stressful season of holiday gift shopping, yet there are dangers lurking beneath the favorable exterior of shopping for gifts online. Some orders never arrive, sometimes the wrong product arrives, and refunds are not going through. Holiday shopping scams threaten to ruin holidays. Here’s how to avoid them.


“Beware of fake websites. They can show up in your search results, or be in phishing emails that look like they came from companies you trust, but actually take you to a fake site or a site that’s just there to rip you off.” (WTOP News).


According to Christina Miranda with the Division of Consumer Business Education at the Federal Trade Commission, the coronavirus pandemic has worsened the issue.


“Reports about online shopping issues aren’t new for the Federal Trade Commission, but the supply chain issues related to the pandemic have made matters much, much worse,” Miranda said. (WTOP News).

“As online shopping increases, so does the chance of encountering online fraud. It’s always important to protect yourself, but what steps are the most effective?” (Central Bank).


The FTC released guidelines for online shoppers:


“1. When using an unfamiliar retailer, do a search on the company or  

2. Realize name brand goods at big discounts might be fakes product using terms like review, complaint or scam

3. Closely examine the terms of the sale. Check the total price, taxes, shipping, handling, expected delivery date, refund policy, who pays for return shipping and if there’s a restocking fee

4. Always pay by credit card so, you don’t have to pay for things you order but don’t get.” (WTOP News). 


“The FTC recommends that people unable to resolve disputes with online retailers report them. There are multiple ways to report the information as detailed on the FTC website.” (WTOP News).


Virginia Tech cybersecurity expert Aaron Brantly has additional safety tips:


“5. Search on retail sites such as Walmart, Amazon, Target, Best Buy etc. rather than using search engines 

6.Use trusted vendors you know 

7.Do not reuse passwords or usernames — particularly those that are used on banking, billing or medical sites

8. Limit the amount of personal information you disclose

9. Review your credit card statements and banking statements regularly to identify potentially fraudulent purchases

10. Use a password manager such as KeychainLastPass, or 1Password to create unique user IDs and passwords for each site you visit.” (WTOP News). 


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WTOP News. 

Central Bank.