The North Bay Police Service wants you to be vigilant while making any online purchases this holiday season.
In a statement, the NBPS says that the internet has made online shopping a part of normal life.
“People need to be aware that the internet has also opened every user’s door to scammers,” it states.
The service suggests online buyers verify where they are purchasing their items from.
“If you are not familiar with a particular seller then try to independently verify who they are. Search online to see if anyone has reported good or bad experiences,” the NBPS said.
Police also warn of the “Overpayment Scam” for people selling items online.
“Whether your payment includes a cheque or money received through an online payment provider if the amount is in excess to cover shipping fees, consider the likelihood of a scam.” It is also recommended to never ship an item before receiving payment.
Police are also cautioning shoppers to beware of counterfeit products while browsing online.
“Counterfeiters produce websites that look and feel like the legitimate manufacturers. These products are sold at huge discounts but in many cases are far inferior and could pose significant health risks.”
NBPS says some counterfeit clothing has been found to have traces of mould and bacteria.
Here are some quick tips from the police to avoid getting scammed online:
- Verify the seller information ‐ are the phone numbers, email addresses legitimate.
- Check reviews on the seller. Look for the good, the bad and the ugly experiences.
- Deal with reputable companies or individuals.
- Know what you are signing up for – read the terms and conditions, understand payment options, return policies and product warranty.
- There are many ways to send money, but not all of them offer fraud protection. Verify the fraud coverage with the payment method that you choose to use.
- Be wary if a product is listed way below the normal retail price AGAIN if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
- Using a credit card when shopping online may provide you with purchase protection. Check the terms and conditions of your credit card.
- Inspect the website thoroughly. Often counterfeit web sites contain grammatical errors.
- Online manufacturers generally use their own company email account. If a web-based email like Gmail, Hotmail or Yahoo is listed on the website under their contact details, this is a huge red flag and further research is recommended.
- Upon delivery, inspect the quality of the product. If you notice any discrepancies, contact the manufacturer.