INDIANAPOLIS — Shoppers can find just about anything online these days, but the Better Business Bureau says they're hearing about problems from people trying to buy secondhand items on the Internet.
The BBB Scam Tracker has gotten reports from shoppers who thought they bought legitimate vintage goods, only to receive knockoffs or nothing at all.
The BBB shared the following tips on how to protect yourself from vintage shopping scams:
- Avoid impulse buying, especially on social media. Keep in mind that scammers know how to target consumers based on their buying history. Even if an item seems perfect, try not to make an emotional decision to purchase. Scammers will try to make you feel like the item you are considering – especially vintage items – will get snapped up by someone else. Always take the time to research the item and the seller before you click “buy.”
- Scrutinize the website before you purchase. Check BBB.org and find the company’s BBB rating and BBB Accreditation status. Carefully review consumer reviews outside of the company’s website. Check BBB Scam Tracker. Do an internet search of the company along with the word “scam.” If others have had a poor experience or have been scammed by the company, don’t do business with them.
- Check for valid contact information. If a business doesn’t have a U.S. phone number, consider it a red flag. Keep in mind that scammers may use Google Voice numbers or use a Gmail or Yahoo business email address to appear legitimate. Trustworthy businesses should have a working phone number and preferably, a physical address that checks out, too.
- Pay with your credit card. Credit cards offer more protection for buyers than other payment methods.
- Keep good records. Write down where you ordered the items and take a screenshot of the website and the item listing in case it disappears later. This will make disputing the charges easier, if it becomes necessary.
Jennifer Adamany with the Better Business Bureau Serving Central Indiana shares more advice on how to avoid being a victim of this scam in the video player above.
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