STATE – In order to get the most value for holiday shopping, many people are going off the beaten path of mainstream online vendors. The New Jersey State Police Cyber Crimes Unit detectives routinely receive complaints of citizens ripped off by crooks on the web. Many of these crimes can be avoided if consumers follow some common sense advice.
- When buying through popular auction web sites, many purchases are paid for with protected and secure systems. Avoid vendors that encourage you to complete transactions outside of this framework, such as by paying with wire transfers. This often ends in disaster for the hopeful shopper.
- Be very careful about dealing with sellers from free posting sites who refer to themselves as “agents” of auction web sites. There is very little to protect you from a seller who fails to deliver the goods if you pay by money order or wire transfer. If you use free posting sites to find your presents, try to deal with local people who will deal with you face to face.
- Do not fall for foreign buyers who offer you above your asking price, pay with checks, and want you to ship items overseas. This is often part of a well-practiced scam.
- Avoid snap decisions on purchases from people who claim they need the money fast. Those transactions leave you with no recourse in the event that something goes wrong.
- Simply put, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. For instance, if someone is offering a new touchpad computer for way below the going rate, it’s likely broken, stolen, or will not be delivered.
The New Jersey State Police wish online shoppers a secure buying season.
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