Many Arkansans like to save money after the holidays by shopping online after Christmas, including on social media marketplaces, internet classifieds and internet auction sites. While these platforms facilitate commerce and often feel like buying from a friend rather than a retailer, they are also a hotbed for scammers who exploit that sense of community. Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge urges Arkansans to exercise caution on auction-type sites, classifieds and marketplaces because they can present opportunities for scammers.
“Arkansans need to be vigilant when shopping online,” Rutledge said. “There are many malicious actors in the world who seek to steal and defraud hard working people who are not looking for the site or item purchased.”
Consumers looking to shop online on social media, online auction platforms, or online classifieds can follow these tips to ensure they are safe while shopping online:
Know the website you are using. Know the terms and conditions.
Know what you are bidding or buying on before you make your offer. Beware of counterfeit products.
Ask for additional photos of the item to ensure the seller has the item.
Purchase the item through a website that provides buyer and seller protections.
Use the most secure payment option for the transaction. Debit cards and credit cards offer more security than cash, checks, bank transfers or other online payment methods. Many payment methods offer buyer protections or allow users to dispute charges.
Keep all copies of your transaction information, including correspondence with the buyer or seller.
Do not give out your social security number, driver’s license number, or date of birth.
Beware of bank checks. Often fraudulent bank checks are used in scams.
If you buy a product locally, go to a designated public place. Often, police departments and sheriff’s offices serve as well-lit and safer public interchanges.
Beware of work from home opportunities and business opportunities listed in online classifieds. If you are told that you will earn a lot of money without too much effort, it is probably a scam.
For more information and tips on avoiding scams and other consumer issues, visit ArkansasAG.gov, email [email protected], or call the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Hotline at (800) 482-8982.
Leslie Rutledge is the Arkansas State Attorney General.