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Online shopping scams lead to consumer fraud

As people switch to online shopping because of its convenience, it’s easy to forget that not every website visited is legitimate. Unfortunately, scammers commonly use fake images and low prices to get consumers to visit their website and also give fake ads on genuine websites. Once a consumer makes a payment, either the consumer does not receive the product or gets a fake imitation instead. As a result, hard-working individuals are scammed out of their money.

The California Department of Justice provides some tips for individuals to follow to avoid becoming victims of online shopping scams. First, keep in mind that if a price seems too good to be true, it probably is. Second, it is important to read the description of the product closely, as fine print can often claim that the product will not be what is advertised. It’s good to ask questions about warranties and returns and who pays for shipping and handling. Using a credit card is often a good idea as well, as laws allow a purchaser to dispute credit card charges if something goes wrong. Making sure one has a secure connection also ensures that private information cannot be stolen.

Despite taking precautions, innocent people are regularly defrauded online. The first step to take if someone is victimized is to speak to the retail website or the seller. If that does not work, then one might consider speaking to the credit card company to dispute the charges. The company can also be reported to the Attorney General’s Public Inquiry Unit, the Federal Trade Commission and the Better Business Bureau.

Consumer fraud is a crime and one that can be pursued legally. If someone has become a victim of fraud, he or she might want to consider consulting an experienced attorney for guidance on their legal options.