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On this 2nd day of Consumer Protection, it’s all about online shopping. Because that’s what we can do this year, right? (OK, it’s a lot of what we do any year.)

If you’re spending some of your hard-earned money online, make sure you know where it’s going. Because it’s pretty easy for scammers to put up a fake website that looks a lot like a real one. A scam website may show up in your search results, or scammers may send you a phishing email that looks like it came from a company you trust, but actually takes you to a rip-off site. They’ll be happy to take your money and leave you with nothing. So:

  • Instead of clicking on a link, say in an email, type in the store’s URL yourself, so you know where you’re headed.

  • Only pay on sites with URLs that starts with https. That ‘s’ means your transaction is encrypted…but scammers know how to encrypt, too. So don’t believe that a site is the real deal just because the site uses encryption.

  • Pay by credit card. It gives you way more protections if something goes wrong.

  • Check out more about how to shop safely online.

And if you spot a scammy site or you don’t get what you ordered, tell the FTC at

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The purpose of this blog and its comments section is to inform readers about Federal Trade Commission activity, and share information to help them avoid, report, and recover from fraud, scams, and bad business practices. Your thoughts, ideas, and concerns are welcome, and we encourage comments. But keep in mind, this is a moderated blog. We review all comments before they are posted, and we won’t post comments that don’t comply with our commenting policy. We expect commenters to treat each other and the blog writers with respect.

  • We won’t post off-topic comments, repeated identical comments, or comments that include sales pitches or promotions.
  • We won’t post comments that include vulgar messages, personal attacks by name, or offensive terms that target specific people or groups.
  • We won’t post threats, defamatory statements, or suggestions or encouragement of illegal activity.
  • We won’t post comments that include personal information, like Social Security numbers, account numbers, home addresses, and email addresses. To file a detailed report about a scam, go to

We don't edit comments to remove objectionable content, so please ensure that your comment contains none of the above. The comments posted on this blog become part of the public domain. To protect your privacy and the privacy of other people, please do not include personal information. Opinions in comments that appear in this blog belong to the individuals who expressed them. They do not belong to or represent views of the Federal Trade Commission.

December 07, 2020
"Pay by credit card. It gives you way more protections if something goes wrong." Versus what other payment options? PayPal or Bitcoin?
FTC Staff
December 07, 2020

In reply to by Kevin

This article tells more about your rights when you pay with a credit card. For example, if you're billed for merchandise you didn't get, or returned, you can dispute that with your credit card company. Check with other payment methods to see what they say about your options and rights.

December 11, 2020

In reply to by Kevin

A lot of scam sites get people to pay with a cash card. Their victims are people with poor credit who can't get regular credit cards.
John of Milpitas
December 07, 2020
Is using Pay Pal safer than a credit card?
Rungsun Gunkoom
December 07, 2020
Thank you For all Best Regards
December 07, 2020
What if they only accept PayPal?
Ann on a mouse
December 07, 2020
I only use a prepay card for online purchases. That way if I'm scammed once, they don't get much money and they can't use it to try to see my other accounts.