This was the riskiest scam of 2020, the BBB says

Local News

UTAH (ABC4) – The Better Business Bureau reports online shopping as the riskiest scam of 2020, and a new study shows the most common site it comes from is one almost everyone uses at least a few times a week, Facebook. 

BBB International INvestigation Specialist Steve Baker told ABC4 a lot of the scams start with a victim seeing an ad for a product on social media, a product that either doesn’t exist or is not at all what the consumer thought they were purchasing. 

“People don’t get anything at all, they get something that’s counterfeit, or they get a cheap knockoff instead of what they ordered and paid for,” said Baker. 

The problem got even worse when the pandemic hit. In 2019 more than 9,000 reports were filed with the BBB involving online purchases. In 2020, it nearly doubled at just under 18,000 claims. Baker said the pandemic can only be partly to blame. 

“Even as the pandemic has receded I mean the stores are open There are there’s been a huge increase in scams,” said Baker.

Before you buy you should ask the following questions: 

  1. How old is the website?
    1. You can check this by using 
    2. If the site is new, experts say that’s a red flag
  2. Have people filed claims against the company?
    1. Look up the company’s name on the BBB’s website
  3. What are the reviews?
    1. If you’re buying from a site like Amazon or Ebay, check the one-star reviews. 
  4. How are you paying for it?
    1. The BBB says the safest bet is to pay using a credit card because if there is an issue, your credit card company may be able to get it back for you. 

Another issue Baker sees involves the consumers. Baker said people aren’t reporting the problem. While admitting you were scammed could be embarrassing, Baker said the worst thing you can do is not report it to police and the BBB.

“We really need that because then law enforcement to look for patterns and hopefully do something and help obey your friends. Your neighbors relatives should be ripped off too,” said Baker.

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