Online holiday shopping a center for crime

By Abby Allen
Managing Editor

In today’s world, technology has taken over the shopping realm, and now online purchases are a large part of holiday shopping. According to deloitte.com, survey respondents planned to spend 51 percent of their holiday budget online. Online shopping can be risky with all the potential scams.

Many online sites require a credit card number in order to purchase a product from their site. This can lead to credit card fraud and identity theft. Business teacher Kyle Loudermilk is currently experiencing this crime as a victim of credit card and identity fraud through online shopping.

“People can intercept your credit card information to pay for their own goods and/or services. They do that so they don’t have to worry about paying for things themselves. It’s actually happening to me right now,” Loudermilk said.

Not only can the use of online shopping sources endanger one’s credit card account or identity, but the use of sites like the Facebook Marketplace can also entail danger and false products if shoppers aren’t careful. Sometimes a product is advertised online differently than its actual condition, value, amount, etc. According to scamwatch.gov, many false sites will advertise extremely low “too good to be true” prices, and won’t have a privacy policy users to protect users. Scammers can use false logos and branding to draw unsuspecting buyers in and rip them off for false products. According to a survey by scamwatch, in 2015, seven hundred forty-eight reports of online shopping scams concluded a two hundred fifty-seven thousand eight hundred thirty-two dollars total loss due to false sites and sketchy sellers. 30.7 percent of scams reported were through the internet’s online sellers, while 23 percent were through social networking sites.

According to facebook.com, Facebook Marketplace works by connecting a seller and a buyer, allowing them to converse online about their business and then establish a public place to make the exchange. Facebook has taken care in the up-keeping of the safety and reputation of the site with ways out all shoppers should know. Facebook has filtered their users and allowed discussion between the buyer and seller so they can ensure the safety of the transaction.

“I’ve actually enjoyed Facebook Marketplace because you can actually speak and view the profile before even going to commit to buy an item. Just like the good ol’ Craigslist, you can meet at a public place to do the exchange and it’s been very good,” Loudermilk said.

With the safer sites like Facebook Marketplace, there are the riskier ones out there, such as Ebay and Amazon. These sites do offer refunds and exchanges when a problem arises, however.

“I personally don’t like Ebay or the whole PayPal system due to a first time experience dealing with fraud. You can’t trust that system. Amazon does a pretty good job overall because they have a reputation to uphold, so they usually cover gifts that have been torn, broken, fake, etc.,” Loudermilk said.

Online shopping is, and most likely always will be, a popular way to gather presents to put under the tree. While some online shopping issues are minor and can easily be handled with an exchange or a refund, other online shopping scams can be extremely dangerous, especially with credit card transactions. Shoppers should be safe this holiday season and choose present suppliers wisely.

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