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Avoid online shopping scams: Buying stuff online? Read reviews with a critical eye. #Scam Free Summer. ReportFraud.ftc.gov. Graphic of shopping bags, shopping cart, and computer screen with a protruding storefront awning and  squares with a shopping  "symbols" (shopping cart, percentage sign, truck,  wrapped gift, shopping bag)

Ahh, summer. Ten sweet yet short weeks to enjoy some of your favorite traditions. Maybe it’s sipping an ice cold drink on the porch, spending a weekend at the beach, or cooling off with the kids at the pool. 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. We’ve got tips about using comparison-shopping sites.

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. Learn more about how to evaluate online reviews.

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. Learn more about the benefits of paying with a credit card.

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. Here’s what to know if you’re using a shopping app.

If you spot this or any other scam, report it to the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

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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.
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