BBB of Central & Eastern Kentucky warns of scams while shopping online this year

With online shopping exploding amid the holidays and the pandemic, scammers are looking to cash in
Posted at 12:18 PM, Dec 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-02 12:26:48-05

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — With just a click, your holiday shopping can be done in the comfort of your own home. However, the Better Business Bureau serving Central & Eastern Kentucky wants to make sure shoppers aren't getting too comfortable searching for that perfect gift. The BBB has already reported cases of people getting scammed after buying items from phony websites.

If you happen upon a questionable website, Communications Director Heather Clary says to check for bad spelling and grammar and its About and Contact pages.

"Look under Contact Us and see if there is an actual physical location for the company," said Clary. "If all you see in the way to contact them is a contact box or an email address, and that's it, you may want to reconsider because you may not get any assistance down the line if there's a problem. If there is a phone number, call it and see if it works."

Clary also suggests shoppers pay with a credit card because it can offer more protection if they need to dispute a charge.
"Also, when you're online, be safe when you're putting in your personal information, including that financial information. The way you can tell a website is secure is by looking up in the URL box at the top when you type in the address, where you type in www. If there's a padlock there or if there's an https, that means it's a secure website," she said.

If you do order something online, you can test your item's shipping tracking information. Instead of clicking a tracking link, Clary says to go to the shipper's website and type in the code to see if it is real.

Shoppers should continue taking safe steps once a package makes it to the front door. To help avoid theft, the Lexington Police Department says to schedule deliveries when you know someone is home, or ask a neighbor to hold your mail or keep an eye out for something suspicious.

You can report a scam on the BBB's Scam Tracker website. The BBB also set up a page dedicated to safe holiday shopping tips.