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Here's how to avoid online scams this holiday season

The Better Business Bureau says scams are on the rise during the COVID-19 pandemic.

TAMPA, Fla — The deals are posted and bellies are full! Who’s ready to shop?

According to the National Retail Federation consumers plan to spend on average $998 this season when it comes to holiday-related purchases.

And, well, because it’s 2020, a lot of that shopping may be happening online.

The Better Business Bureau says they have already seen ‘some grinches’ out there creating fake websites and scams.

So, it’s up to you to protect yourself and the BBB has some tips.

“First, just take a look, do you even know the company? Is this a company that you know and trust? Have you purchased from before? Is this a new business that you're coming across? A lot of these new websites spin-off social media. They do a fancy social media advertisement, they show a product, you may be interested in,” Bryan Oglesby with the BBB explained to 10 Investigates’ Jennifer Titus.

Then you buy that product, but unfortunately, it never makes it to your door.

“The key is doing that homework before you hit that buy button. Just do a little bit of that research. You can go to different websites, see when that website was created. A big red flag if it's a recent website that was created, it's a new company. And then their ‘About Us’ page is saying they've been in business for many years,” explains Oglesby.

Another tip: reverse Google search a picture image. 

The BBB sees this a lot if you are buying a new puppy for Christmas. If you right-click on that puppy photo and paste it into Google and that same photo pops up all over the internet it’s probably not legit.

“And, look at the URL. Is it the true website that you intend on buying from? And just doing that homework and research, verifying information can help save you from being the victim of a scam,” Oglesby said. 

The BBB says unfortunately they have seen a rise in scams since the pandemic. So, don’t fall victim. Shop safe and shop smart.

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