WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) – The COVID-19 pandemic has opened the floodgates when it comes to online shopping with people choosing to purchase their supplies from the comfort of their living rooms rather than going to an actual store.
While efficient, this can also pose a threat.
“Scammers are trying to take advantage of people,” explained Susan Bach, a spokeswoman with Wisconsin’s Better Business Bureau.
According to Bach, the BBB is anticipating an increase in complaints and reports of fraudulent practices as more and more people continue to shop online as the pandemic continues, and stores around the country now require customers to wear masks.
“I would love to be able to give you a list and tell people, ‘These are good websites, reputable websites, and these are not,’ but the truth of the matter is that that list would change by the hour,” Bach went on to say. “As quickly as that website gets created and the BBB gets a report to warn people about it, it disappears. It’s a little bit like playing Whack-A-Mole. You find a scammer and you whack them, but then they pop up somewhere else.”
Bach says the BBB has received numerous complaints throughout the pandemic from those who purchased items online, particularly hand sanitizer or toilet paper and never received them; or finally did after weeks of waiting for the item to arrive.
She shared some tips to help make sure you’re not a victim to online scammers.
“Try and purchase that material in-person at a brick and mortar store, if possible,” Bach suggested. “If that’s not possible and you have to shop online, choose a reputable, well-established online retailer.”
Scott Sybeldon is the senior lecturer of business at UWSP at Wausau.
He says that online security is important for businesses to guarantee their customers as the online shopping trend continues to grow; likely past the pandemic.
“When COVID-19 goes away, the convenience of shopping online won’t,” Sybeldon said, adding that most online shopping is done with a smartphone. “I think the key is making it easy for the customer. Having the third-party payment services and being able to keep their payment information in the app; being able to complete transactions with just a couple of clicks. Making people feel safe and secure that their information is not at risk.”
For more information on how to avoid online scams you’re encouraged to visit the Better Business Bureau’s website.
Copyright 2020 WSAW. All rights reserved.
Get your CompTIA A+, Network+ White Hat-Hacker, Certified Web Intelligence Analyst and more starting at $35 a month. Click here for more details.