FTC Tips To Stay Safe While Shopping Online

Jul 19, 2021, 2:23 PM | Updated: 2:24 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — Cybercrime complaints nearly doubled from 2019 to 2020, and experts are reminding Utahns to be cautious while shopping online.

Mondays and Thursdays are the biggest days for shopping online, so here are some things you should keep in mind as you shop because there are always scammers looking to take advantage of shoppers.

Last year was historically bad for online consumers.

The Insurance Information Institute reported a skyrocketing number of cybercrime complaints that are happening at a time when more people are shopping on their phones and computers than ever before.

Look at this graph from the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, which shows the last few years of data in both cybercrimes committed — 2020 truly did yield pandemic levels of scams.

First, the crimes themselves.

Right around 300,000 complaints in 2016 with similar growth in 2017 and 2018, but crimes nearly doubled in 2020.

As far as the amount — $1.4 billion was lost in 2017. But last year, that amount spiked above $4 billion lost to online scammers.

So what can you do about it?

Look for comparison prices across websites and think critically about online reviews — they can be helpful, but they might also be fake or at least manipulated.

Pay attention to the details and the fine print, and pay with a credit card as opposed to debit, so you can fight fraud easier.

And finally, find out what personal information those shopping apps collect.

Those are the latest tips from the Federal Trade Commission, which tracks scam and fraud trends — the trend right now is hitting you hard in cyberspace, so don’t fall for them.

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FTC Tips To Stay Safe While Shopping Online