It's three weeks before Christmas, and the latest video game console is getting harder and harder to find in stores. You've checked all the large retail stores online and visited them locally as well. You've talked to the retail workers to see if they know when more game consoles are coming in, and they don't even know. You've seen them on the various auction sites, but at three, four, and ten times the actual cost, you know they're worth online. You've checked your social media platforms and see that other people are having the same issues finding the game console.
You start Googling to see if you can find another retailer or store that you've missed in your searches. On the fourth page of searching, you see a link where the website has it in the preview section of the website description that they always have plenty of products in stock. You click on the link, thinking, "oh, it will be 10x the normal price."
The website states they are a reseller of video console platforms, and they resell products when minor cosmetic issues do not affect the gameplay, and they guarantee it for up to a year. This information appears interesting, so you scroll down further and see the console you're looking for, and it's for around the same retail price, and they have 23 available to purchase. You can hardly contain your excitement as you might have gotten lucky! You click on the white "buy now" button, and it asks for your name, email, phone number, and home address.
You are so excited that you don't want to miss out. You enter this information and click next, where you are greeted with the payment screen. You see a countdown showing only five units left in the upper right-hand corner. You panic as they are selling off quickly, so you enter your credit card number, the expiration date, and the security code. You click on purchase, and the screen reloads with a thank you screen and that your purchase will be delivered within five to ten business days.
"You think, okay, it's three weeks to Christmas, that should arrive in time" A week goes by, and you don't get any updates on the gaming console. Life is busy, and it's another week when you realize you haven't received the package. You check your email, and there is no new information. You go back through your emails and discover you never got a confirmation email from the online store. You go through your browser history and find the website where you completed the order. The pages do not load, and the browser indicates the website cannot be found.
Baffled, you realize that maybe the purchase was too good to be true, and now someone has your credit card information. This leads to a frustrating Christmas as you call the credit card company to cancel the card and now have to wait several days to get the replacement card, which further delays your Christmas shopping.
Cybercriminals will set up fake websites or send out phishing emails to entice users to visit their site where they can steal credit card information and/or personally identifiable information and then sell it to other cybercriminals for an easy profit.
Here are some tips to make sure what you're buying online is not a fraud in disguise.
- Always use reputable retail websites when purchasing online.
- If you are visiting a site with auctions or resellers, take the time to review their profiles and ensure they have a history of selling.
- If purchasing from a site for the first time, research the organization and look for reviews on social media or online.
- Make sure to use a credit card for online purchases and monitor the card regularly for fraudulent activity.
- Verify confirmation emails and get tracking numbers for purchases.