June 18, 2021
by Alvaro Puig
Consumer Education Specialist, FTC
Ahh, summer. Ten sweet yet short weeks to enjoy some of your favorite traditions. Maybe it’s sipping lemonade on the porch or vacationing at the beach. Now that you think about it, you might decide to treat yourself to a new porch swing or a new beach umbrella. Or suddenly realize that you need to buy more goggles because the kids lost theirs…again.
Before you start filling up your online shopping cart, we’ve got some tips you’ll want to check out (no pun intended!).
Do some comparison-shopping. Before you buy online, use the power of the internet to compare prices on different websites.
Think critically about online reviews. Reading other people’s opinions about a product can help you make a decision. But some reviews are downright fake or not completely honest. You may not know when a reviewer got something — like a free product — in exchange for the review.
Pay attention to the details. Before you buy something online, know when it’ll ship and what to do if you want to return it. Read up on delivery, return, and refund policies.
Pay with a credit card if you can. That way, if you get billed twice for the same item, or you get billed for something you never got, you can dispute it.
Find out what personal information shopping apps collect. Shopping apps might give you exclusive deals or rewards points. But they might also take your personal information, like your name, phone number, and email. And they might use your device’s location.
If you spot this or any other scam, report it to the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.