Online Shopping Scam
With the holiday nearing everyone I know is trying to find the perfect gift at the lowest price. The desire to get the best deal has led many people to venture into online shopping where either great fortune or great scam awaits. This article is an attempt to inform you of the scam practices and how to spot shady dealers who hide online as Mr. Anonymous.
People are familiar with yahoo or ebay online shopping. Most people would just check the price and the comments left right below the product. Yet sometimes, the feed back and rating is inflated by dishonest dealers. What you should do is type in the store name + scam and see what google turns up. The beauty of all the excessive blog is that if someone is cheated, their voice can now be heard. We just have to listen. That one single step will save you a lot of grief.
Also, if an online store name uses incorrect spelling like Price Rite I would stay away from it. The reason is that a fraud store tends to be on the move and have multiple names. They can't be bothered to come up with a good name every time they restart their business. A store that is in for the long haul will most likely not use cheap names like these.
Second, if you are suspicious of a really low price, check out legitimate consumer feed back sites with better safe guard and integrity:
- Issue a complaint through the FTC: https://rn.ftc.gov/pls/dod
/wsolcq$.startup?Z_ORG_CODEYour complaint will be accessible to local and federal law enforcement that may prosecute. =PU01
- Contact their local police department and file charges. Some precincts may not wish to take the complaint, but they have no choice if you press it. It will be best if you provide printouts of the screenshots and emails that you have, as well as a timeline covering all event and phone conversations. The easier you make it for them the more likely they are to follow through with everything. At the least, you want to go after them for fraud, harassment, deceptive trade practices and threat of bodily harm (if they threatened physical harm).
- Contact their local district attorney and file a complaint with them that references your police repot. You are much more likely to get "action" from the local DA, compared to the state attorney general.
- File a complaint with the Internet Fraud Complaint Center (IFCC) at http://www.ic3.gov/ The IFCC is a joint partnership with the FBI to investigate internet based crimes.
There is a horrific scam story written from the view point of victim, Mr Tomas Hawk - "PriceRitePhoto abusive bait and switch" It is an interesting account and seems to be one of the standard procedure of online scamming. The story even made it to Slashdot - "Consumer Strikes Back at Crooked Online Retailer". I recommend you read through the story.
Personally I was looking forward to buying a Canon EOS 350D / Digital Rebel XT online but that article from Slashdot stopped me cold. Now I am going to go into the official Cannon branch store and buy the camera in person. There is no iPod store in Taiwan though, so I would have to order it online from the official Apple iPod.
Hope this helps. Happy shopping and get me a gift.