Shopping Scams: Online and Offline

Tips and pointers on how to recognize and identify a scam

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Re: Shopping Scams: Online and Offline

Post by TheTruthTeller » Sun Jun 03, 2012 8:01 am

Let's look at yet again another scam from the same site walmartstores.com that it describes: :-? :-B

"Walmart $1,000 Gift Card/Certificate Fraudulent E-mail Offer

August 4, 2010 - A fraudulent e-mail encouraging consumers to “Click Here to Claim Your $1,000 Walmart Gift Card!” has been making the rounds the last few days. This communication is not from Walmart.

Walmart does not offer $1,000 gift cards for completing surveys or merely clicking on a link.

In addition, Walmart will never ask you to e-mail personal information such as:

Passwords
Social security numbers
Bank account details
Credit card numbers
Other financial information.

Walmart will never make unsolicited phone calls asking for such information."
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Re: Shopping Scams: Online and Offline

Post by TheTruthTeller » Sun Jun 03, 2012 8:13 am

Extra Information On: Walmart Gift Card Text Message Scam! :-? :-B B-)

Going back to the same Walmart Gift Card Text Message Scam that was earlier mentioned here is some extra information from Walmart's own site walmartstores.com that we have also mentioned before that is also worth taking note of:

"Walmart Gift Card Text Message Scams

March 9, 2012 -- There has been a sudden increase in scam text messages referring people to a site where they can “claim a Walmart Gift Card” by entering certain private personal information. These attacks that take place through SMS text message technologies to personal mobile phones are scams and are in no way sponsored by or affiliated with Walmart. This type of scam has come to be known as “Smishing” because of the use of SMS text technology. Similar to the way scam web sites send “Phishing” emails, scam artists have been sending text messages offering free Walmart gift cards to consumers in exchange for entering information on a mobile website. The most popular website being used recently is called “walmartgift.mobi”. This site is not owned, operated by, or affiliated with Walmart. Any site can be used for this scam and users are often asked for private personal information including credit card numbers or social security numbers. Providing this type of information is very likely to lead to identity theft or credit card fraud.

These text messages and the sites being used are not from Walmart and Walmart is not associated with parties promoting this activity. Walmart will never initiate a text message where we ask for sensitive personal data like credit card information or social security numbers. Click here to learn how to report text message SPAM..."
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Re: Shopping Scams: Online and Offline

Post by TheTruthTeller » Fri Jun 08, 2012 4:20 pm

Here is more information on shopping scams from the site known as accc.gov.au:

"Scams & online shopping

The internet is a global marketplace where you can shop and buy almost anything you want - just by the click of a mouse.

However, this freedom can have a downside – scammers also love the ease of online shopping as it allows them to target victims online. This can make it difficult to know if you are dealing with an honest trader or just someone who is out to steal your money or identity.

Scammers can pretend to sell a product, often very cheaply, in order to steal your credit card or bank account details. They may take your money but send you a faulty or worthless product - or even nothing at all.

Many online businesses put a lot of effort into spotting scammers. Some websites may have buyer protection schemes in place that will cover you if you are the victim of fraud. Beware of sellers on online auction sites offering to make a deal outside of the site – they may be scammers, and you will lose any fraud protection that the auction site may provide."
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Re: Shopping Scams: Online and Offline

Post by TheTruthTeller » Fri Jun 08, 2012 4:25 pm

Here is a very interesting article from the site known as shopping.yahoo.com: :-?

"The sneakiest new shopping scams
Easy ways to avoid the biggest rip-offs online and in stores


Just as important as knowing how to sniff out great buys is understanding what it takes to avoid rip-offs. And with Internet fraud on the rise, it's getting tougher to outsmart the criminals. Complaints to the Internet Crime Complaint Center, a joint operation of the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center, jumped 22 percent last year. The complaints include plenty of run-of-the-mill scams, like sellers who steal credit-card numbers or take the money and run. But those are child's play compared with what else is brewing.

Think you're too savvy to get taken? OK, maybe you don't fall for those e-mails from Nigerian royalty asking you to wire money, but digital criminals are getting sneakier every year. One scam that can trip up even the most cautious consumers involves "skimmers" attached to ATMs. Those devices record account numbers and passwords so that thieves can clean out your bank account.

"These guys are constantly thinking of new ways to swindle you, some of which are quite sophisticated," says Brian Krebs, a computer security expert and author of "Krebs on Security" at Krebsonsecurity.com.

Think you're safer shopping at the mall? Official purse-snatching statistics show there's been a downward trend, but many of those crimes aren't reported to law enforcement officials. And pickpocket activity always jumps around holiday time, says Bob Arno, co-author of "Travel Advisory! How to Avoid Thefts, Cons and Street Scams While Traveling" (Bonus Books, 2003). But you can outsmart even the craftiest swindlers if you know what's in their bag of nasty tricks. Here's a guide to the latest, sneakiest scams, and simple tips that can help you protect yourself.

'Smishing'

How it works "Phishing" is when you get an e-mail from a supposedly trustworthy source, such as your bank or PayPal, claiming a problem with your account and asking for your user name and password. When you respond, your information is stolen and your account is siphoned. "Smishing" is the latest twist on that scam—instead of getting an e-mail, you get a text message. (The word is a combination of "SMS," for short message service, aka text messaging, and "phishing.") You're told to call a toll-free number, which is answered by a bogus interactive voice-response system that tries to fool you into providing your account number and password.

"It works because people don't give their cell-phone numbers out," Krebs says. "If someone has my cell number, I figure it's someone I know." Thieves can use random-dialing telemarketing services to hit on your number, says Rod Rasmussen, president and CTO of IID, an Internet security firm. If you belong to a credit union, be especially wary—members are targets because often the call-back number has a local area code, not an 800 number, which makes victims less likely to suspect a hoax, Rasmussen says.

Prevent it If you get a text alert about an account, don't respond before you verify that it's legitimate. You can do a Google search on the number to see whether it matches your financial institution. Even better, call the customer-service number at your bank or other service provider to give any needed information to a representative.

Teeny, tiny charges

How it works Thieves get hold of your credit- or debit-card number and make very small charges of 20 cents to $10. The charges appear on your bill with an innocuous-sounding corporate name, and a toll-free number may appear next to the charge. But when you call the number, it's either disconnected or you're instructed to leave a message and your call is never returned.

That was precisely the scam that the Federal Trade Commission broke up in June, according to spokesman Frank Dorman. "We don't know where the thieves got the card numbers, but we're looking into that," he says. The scam was successful because most consumers either didn't notice the charges or didn't bother to correct them because the amounts were so small. In all, the crime ring racked up more than $10 million in bogus charges, the FTC estimates.

Prevent it Scrutinize every item on your bill every month, and question those you don't recognize. (Some charges, but not all, will list a phone number.) If you think a charge is fraudulent, notify your card company as soon as possible but no later than 60 days after the charge appears. By law, the card company must remove the disputed amount from your account while it investigates. Worst case, by law you're liable for only the first $50 on a credit card. (In most cases, Visa and MasterCard will cover the full amount.) Debit cards offer fewer protections: You must report the problem two days after you notice it. If you don't, you could be liable for the first $500 in fraudulent charges. If you wait more than 60 days after your statement is mailed, you could lose all the money in your account.

Skimmers

How it works Skimmers, devices that thieves attach to ATMs or gas pumps to steal your debit account number and password, have been around for years—and they're not going away. They're getting even more sophisticated.

The devices are placed at the mouth of the card-acceptance slot and record the data off of the magnetic strip on the back of your ATM card when you slide it into the machine. Crooks will usually plant a second device, such as a hidden camera or a transparent plastic PIN pad overlay, that's used to record your PIN when you type it in. In the early days of skimming, the thief had to return to the ATM or gas pump to retrieve the apparatus. But now, Krebs says, wireless technology enables the devices to be rigged to send account information via text message to the thief's cell phone. "The thief can be down the street in a coffee house or halfway around the world," he says. "As long as he's got a working phone signal, he can get the information sent to him right away and start using it."

Prevent it Use credit cards and avoid using non-bank ATMs. Those machines are generally located in areas that are less secure, making it easier for thieves to tamper with them. And check the card slot: If there's a plastic strip or plastic film sticking out, or anything glued to the card reader, go elsewhere. If your card is stuck inside the card slot, do not leave the machine. Use your cell phone to call your bank branch or the 24-hour service number to report the problem.

Membership programs

How they work You're buying from a large, reputable website but just before you click the "confirm" button on your purchase, you see a pop-up window or banner ad with an offer such as "$10 Cash Back on Your Next Purchase!" Here's the catch. By accepting that so-called deal, you're agreeing to enroll in a Web discount program that's run by a completely separate company. Those programs, which have innocuous names such as "Reservation Rewards," "Travel Values Plus," or "Great Fun," often provide a 30-day trial period during which you get discounts on a variety of merchandise and services. After that, a monthly membership fee, usually $10 to $20, will appear on your credit-card bill—even though you never gave that outside company your card number.

Sounds dicey, doesn't it? A Senate committee headed by Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., thought so, too. Last year, the committee launched an investigation into three large companies that sell memberships to those discount clubs: Affinion Group, Vertrue, and Webloyalty. The committee's report was issued last November and alleged, among other things, that "misleading 'Yes' and 'Continue' buttons cause consumers to reasonably think they are completing the original transaction, rather than entering into a new, ongoing financial relationship with a membership club operated by Affinion, Vertrue, or Webloyalty."

The problem is so ubiquitous that in May, Rockefeller introduced a bill to ban that and other misleading sales practices. Meanwhile, the three companies mentioned in the report have pledged to change their ways. Previously, customers' credit-card numbers were provided to the discount company by the original site without the consumer's knowledge. After the investigation began, all three companies started to require consumers to type in, at a minimum, the last four digits of their card number to make it clear that they are entering into a separate transaction. We'll be on the lookout for whether those changes are enough to keep consumers from being duped.

Prevent it Be wary of pop-up windows or banner ads that promise an additional discount before you complete a transaction. If you do click on an offer, take the time to read the fine print. Scrutinize your credit-card statement every month and question any unfamiliar charges, no matter how small. Check your e-mail inbox and spam folder because Web loyalty programs often send a notification e-mail before they start charging your credit card, when you still have time to cancel.

Stripped gift cards

How it works Thieves look for gift cards that are displayed on grab-and-go racks, such as in grocery and department stores. They use a handheld scanner—which you can buy online for just a few hundred dollars—to read the code behind the magnetic or scratch-off strip on the back of the card. That, combined with the card number on the front, gives them everything they need to steal the value of the card. Then they put the card back on the rack. Later an unsuspecting buyer purchases the worthless gift card. Even if a card isn't preloaded, a thief can steal the card number and security code, then call the 800 number shown on the card every few days to check the balance. Once a shopper has purchased the card and loaded it with a dollar amount, the thief can spend it before the purchaser does.

Prevent it Buy cards that are behind a customer-service desk, says Tom Browning, vice president of corporate compliance and chief security officer for AlliedBarton Security Services. Inspect the card; if the magnetic or peel-off strip on the back isn't pristine, the card might have been tampered with. When buying a preloaded card, ask the cashier to scan it to make sure the full value is on it. If you're buying from a third-party gift-card site, look at the refund policy. And always hang on to the receipts. If something goes wrong, it can help you—or the gift recipient—get a refund.

Counterfeit electronics

How it works Counterfeiting might seem like old news, but it's still going strong—in fact, stronger than ever. Last year, U.S. Customs and Border Protection made 14,841 seizures of fake and pirated goods worth $261 billion, an all-time high. The counterfeits seized included the usual suspects—footwear, apparel, and accessories—plus a huge number of electronics. "A knockoff handbag may not present a direct risk to consumers," says Anthony Toderian, spokesman for CSA International, which tests and certifies products, "but counterfeit electronics certainly do." Fake goods could have substandard wiring, faulty fuses, flammable plastic casings, and harmful chemicals such as lead and mercury. All kinds of electronics have been illegally copied, including computers, phones, and handheld gaming devices, he says. Although online shopping and auction sites and deep-discount stores are the most likely places those fakes will pop up, some have made their way onto the shelves of major retailers. "Buyers for stores can be fooled just as easily as regular consumers can," Toderian says.

Prevent it Look for a label stating that the product has been certified by CSA International or Underwriters Laboratory. (Go to CSA -International. org and click on "Certification Marks" to see what genuine labels look like. At UL.com, go to the search box and type in "How to spot fakes.") Look at the product, too. Are there misspellings on the package? If the box is see-through, does it contain all of the listed components, including batteries, cases, and power cords? Is the manufacturer's contact information, including address and phone number, clearly displayed? When in doubt, buy from well-known retailers that offer a full refund.

3 simple ways to protect yourself

Get the right security software In recent tests, we found two great, downloadable programs that protect against viruses, spyware, and other online threats at no charge. Try Avira, at http://www.free-av.com, or Microsoft Security Essentials, at http://www.microsoft.com/security_essentials.

Fight fraud There are several useful resources for ensuring your online safety. Bookmark these!

FTC.gov The Federal Trade Commission's site has lots of fact sheets that tell you what to do you if you've been scammed. Under the Consumer Protection tab, click on "Consumer Information" and then "Shopping for Products & Services." Don't miss the helpful primers on what to do if you're billed for merchandise you never receive and "How to right a wrong."

Safeshopping.org This site is sponsored by the American Bar Association and is packed with advice on safe payment methods, protecting your privacy when you shop, and other need-to-know topics.

OnGuardOnline.gov This site has tips on Internet shopping and is sponsored by government agencies. Quizzes test your knowledge of spyware, online auctions, ID theft, and more.

Antiphishing.org The Anti-Phishing Working Group, an industry-sponsored association, has a tip sheet on how to avoid being scammed. Click on "Consumer Advice," then "How to Avoid Phishing Scams."

Check sellers Before you do business with anyone, go to the Better Business Bureau, at http://www.bbb.org/us. Grades A to F are based on how long the seller has been in business and how good a job it does resolving complaints. Other sites that are worth a look include SiteJabber.com, Complaints.com, and RipoffReport.com, for its user reviews. Also do a Google search of the site or retailer and the word "complaints."

Hang on to your handbag!

Bob Arno, an author and anti-theft consultant, has traveled the world secretly filming pickpockets. So he knows their tricks and how to thwart them. Here's his advice:

Get a grip Thieves are just as likely to snatch your purse as to slip a hand inside it to grab a wallet. So keep your handbag tight against your body and in front of you at all times. And when you're sitting down in the food court at the mall, don't sling your purse behind you on the chair. Even if you think you're maintaining physical contact with your bag, leaning forward for just a second is all the opportunity a thief needs to grab it. And never put it on the floor, even if it's in front of you.

Nix knapsacks They're back in style, but any bag that's not within your view is a juicy target for skilled pickpockets, no matter how securely it's fastened. And avoid purses with open compartments. Bags with zippers are best.

Keep your focus A classic ploy of purse thieves is to create a diversion—pointing at something, talking loudly, holding open a map and asking for directions, or spilling something on your coat then offering to clean it up. It can happen in a restaurant or a busy mall. Whenever anyone approaches you, be sure to firmly hold your purse and keep it in front of you.

Pare down your wallet Do you really need to bring all of your credit cards and ID cards with you? Leave everything except the necessities at home. And never routinely carry around anything with your Social Security number on it. (Photocopy all of the cards in your wallet, just in case.)

Be smart with your car Park in well-lit areas. If it's still daylight but you plan to shop for a while, park under a street lamp or in a well-lit garage. Always put up your windows and lock the car. If you go back to your car to stow packages, put them in the trunk—visible boxes and bags are magnets for thieves. Don't load up with so many packages that your purse dangles from your arm, out of your sight. Take advantage of curbside pickup or ask the store to hold bags for you. If someone tries to grab your purse, don't resist. "It's not worth losing your life over," Arno says. Also, if you have a GPS device in your car, program it so that your "home" setting isn't your home address. Instead, use the school or church down the street, or crooks will know how to get to your house while you're out. GPS thefts are also on the rise, so don't leave any visible trace of one in your car, including the mount."
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Re: Shopping Scams: Online and Offline

Post by TheTruthTeller » Fri Jun 08, 2012 10:53 pm

Here is another article from cbsnews.com that deals with shopping scams: :-? :-B

Sneaky Shopping Scams

It's about that time to start your holiday shopping. And with more and more people ready to hit the malls, be aware the scams are bigger and bolder than ever. Sue Perry, Deputy Editor for ShopSmart Magazine, gives tips on how to protect yourself from being ripped off.

One rip off is called "smishing." "Phishing" is when you get an e-mail from a supposedly trustworthy source, such as your bank or PayPal, claiming a problem with your account and asking for your user name and password. When you respond, your information is stolen and your account is siphoned. "Smishing" is the latest twist on that scam-instead of getting an e-mail, you get a text message. You're told to call a toll-free number, which is answered by a bogus interactive voiceresponse system that tries to fool you into providing your account number and password. If you belong to a credit union, be especially wary-members are targets because often the call-back number has a local area code, not an 800 number, which makes victims less likely to suspect a hoax.

If you get a text alert about an account, don't respond before you verify that it's legitimate. You can do a Google search on the number to see whether it matches your financial institution. Even better, call the customer-service number at your bank or other service provider to give any needed information to a representative.

Look out for teeny, tiny charges. Thieves get hold of your credit or debit card number and make very small charges of 20 cents to $10. The charges appear on your bill with an innocuous sounding corporate name, and a toll-free number may appear next to the charge. But when you call the number, it's either disconnected or you're instructed to leave a message and your call is never returned. The scam was successful because most consumers either didn't notice the charges or didn't bother to correct them because the amounts were so small. In all, the crime ring racked up more than $10 million in bogus charges, the FTC estimates.

Prevent it by scrutinizing every item on your bill every month, and question those you don't recognize. If you think a charge is fraudulent, notify your card company as soon as possible but no later than 60 days after the charge appears. By law, the card company must remove the disputed amount from your account while it investigates. Worst case, by law you're liable for only the first $50 on a credit card. In most cases, Visa and MasterCard will cover the full amount. Debit cards offer fewer protections: You must report the problem two days after you notice it. If you don't, you could be liable for the first $500 in fraudulent charges. If you wait more than 60 days after your statement is mailed, you could lose all the money in your account.

Skimmers, devices that thieves attach to ATMs or gas pumps to steal your debit account number and password, have been around for years-and they're not going away. They're getting even more sophisticated. The devices are placed at the mouth of the card-acceptance slot and record the data off of the magnetic strip on the back of your ATM card when you slide it into the machine. Crooks will usually plant a second device, such as a hidden camera or a transparent plastic PIN pad overlay, that's used to record your PIN when you type it in. In the early days of skimming, the thief had to return to the ATM or gas pump to retrieve the apparatus. But now, wireless technology enables the devices to be rigged to send account information via text message to the thief's cell phone.

Prevent it by using credit cards and avoid using non-bank ATMs. Those machines are generally located in areas that are less secure, making it easier for thieves to tamper with them. And check the card slot: If there's a plastic strip or plastic film sticking out, or anything glued to the card reader, go elsewhere. If your card is stuck inside the card slot, do not leave the machine. Use your cell phone to call your bank branch or the 24-hour service number to report the problem.

Stripped gift cards are another sneaky scam. Thieves look for gift cards that are displayed on grab-and-go racks, such as in grocery and department stores. They use a handheld scanner-which you can buy online for just a few hundred dollars-to read the code behind the magnetic or scratch-off strip on the back of the card. That, combined with the card number on the front, gives them everything they need to steal the value of the card. Then, they put the card back on the rack. Later an unsuspecting buyer purchases the worthless gift card. Even if a card isn't preloaded, a thief can steal the card number and security code, then call the 800 number shown on the card every few days to check the balance. Once a shopper has purchased the card and loaded it with a dollar amount, the thief can spend it before the purchaser does.

Try to buy cards that are behind a customer-service desk. Inspect the card; if the magnetic or peel-off strip on the back isn't pristine, the card might have been tampered with. When buying a preloaded card, ask the cashier to scan it to make sure the full value is on it. If you're buying from a third-party gift-card site, look at the refund policy. And always hang on to the receipts. If something goes wrong, it can help you-or the gift recipient-get a refund.
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Re: Shopping Scams: Online and Offline

Post by TheTruthTeller » Fri Jun 08, 2012 11:14 pm

Here is more on shopping scams from the site known as forbes.com: :-? :-B

"How To Beat Online Shopping Scams
Andy Greenberg, 04.08.10, 09:00 PM EDT

Shakedowns and cons run rampant on the Web. Here's how you can protect yourself

Linda Lindquist could be forgiven for thinking that a "discount" program on a reputable Web site would save her money--not cost her hundreds of dollars.

But when the Wisconsin mother of four purchased two film tickets for herself and her 19-year daughter at MovieTickets.com in July of 2007, she was lured by a link on the transaction confirmation page offering "$10 off your next purchase." Lindquist clicked, but couldn't be bothered to fill out the next page's request for her personal information. At no time did she enter her credit card number after her initial ticket purchase.

More than a year later, Lindquist was surprised to find a charge on her credit card for $20 from a company that referred to itself as both Reservation Rewards and Shoppers' Discounts. When she called the company's help line, she discovered that not only had the "discount" service obtained her credit card data from MovieTickets, but it had charged her a total of $320 since she had unwittingly joined its program, a charge that was refunded only after she repeated her complaint to MovieTickets and waited 30 days.

"The more I thought about it, the more upset I was with MovieTickets.com," Lindquist said in her testimony to the Senate's Commerce Committee last November. "Here was what I thought was a reputable Web site, when in reality they were allowing this scam."

Lindquist had become a victim of a $1.4 billion scheme, a shady but legal practice that companies call "post transaction datapass" marketing, that Sen. John Rockefeller and the committee exposed last year in a landmark hearing. Under current U.S. law, an e-commerce site that collects your credit card information can pass it on to any partner that makes you a related offer on its site.

That loophole allowed discount club companies like Vertrue, Affinion and Webloyalty to begin billing Lindquist and millions of others without their explicit consent--just a mere click. The companies shared their profits with the legitimate sites that hosted the offers, including hundreds of online shopping sites ranging from 1800Flowers to Fandango to Buy.com.

Those companies named and shamed by the Senate have taken measures to dial back their participation in the shady schemes--dozens of e-commerce sites have dumped the post-transaction partners. And Affinion, Vertrue and Webloyalty confirmed to Forbes that they have all pledged to change their practices too, requiring users to re-enter all 16 digits of their credit card numbers before signing them up for recurring charges.

But nearly five months after that hearing, no new law or regulation has been passed to prevent e-commerce sites from sharing their data with post-transaction datapass partners. And that lack of definitive action, says Prentiss Cox, a professor of consumer protection law at the University of Minnesota Law School, means the scams will likely continue, perpetrated by different companies or in different forms. Even the requirement of re-entering the credit card number, Cox argues, could be hidden as a simple verification of the consumer's last purchase.

"It's as if we've decided to prevent all pickpocketing, but only on weekdays. There's no justification for allowing this to occur at all," he says. "It's going to require legislation to end these schemes."

Post-transaction marketing is just one of the myriad shopping cons that still lurk around the Web's e-commerce sites, even a decade after digital business has become mainstream. And while the companies that perpetrate those rackets are occasionally outed or fined, consumers' best defense remains their own judgment.

The lesson of Linda Lindquist, for instance, is that consumers should beware any discount or add-on that follows a legitimate purchase, even on a reputable Web site, given that the vendor can legally share customers' account information with less reputable partners.

A more general rule, says consumer-focused Harvard Law professor Ben Edelman, is one that applies to the Web no less than the physical world: If a deal sounds too good to be true, it is. "All those 'get a free iPod,' 'Get a free plasma TV', 'Get a free Walmart gift card,' deals. Whatever nonsense they come up with, it's all a sham," he says.

Those offers, Edelman says, typically lead users in an endless cycle of false promises, requiring them to enter personal details, sign up for memberships and spread the marketing message to friends. The gauntlet of requirements virtually never leads to the advertised reward.

Edelman points to the $2.9 million fine that the Federal Trade Commission levied against marketing company ValueClick ( VCLK - news - people ) for deceptive marketing in March 2008. The FTC's move, however, hasn't stopped others from trying the same shakedown. Googling "free iPad" shows just how many scammers are keeping up with the latest in technological bait.

On mainstream sites, the risks of online shopping are far more subtle. Florencia Marotta-Wurgler, a consumer law professor at NYU Law School, says consumers should be more aware of how their data spreads from companies they know to ones they don't, a process that's only described in the fine print in privacy policies. Many e-commerce sites' policies say they can share data with any affiliate, and reserve the right to change those terms of use whenever they like.

Given how few consumers actually bother to read privacy policies--Marotta-Wurgler has documented that only one in a thousand even clicks on the link--she recommends checking out PrivacyChoice.org, which explains how individual Web sites share information and how recipients of that information safeguard it. Shop.com, for instance, shares data with four advertising partners and PriceGrabber.com shares with five, including one, ShareThis, that PrivacyChoice flags as collecting and storing IP addresses of users indefinitely.

"You agree to one privacy policy and then it changes, or your information is shared with a bunch of other companies. It's very sneaky," Marotta-Wurgler says. "It's best to keep an eye out. Even the protections you think you're getting can suddenly disappear."
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Re: Shopping Scams: Online and Offline

Post by TheTruthTeller » Fri Jun 08, 2012 11:30 pm

Here is more on the subject of shopping scams from the site known as technolog.msnbc.msn.com: :-? :-B

"Gary Merson , HD Guru
How to avoid online HDTV shopping scams

Online HDTV shopping can save you time, gas and money, provided you choose the right dealer, but picking the wrong dealer can be a disaster. HD Guru investigated online HDTV complaints to uncover the awful tactics employed by bad online dealers. Before you buy a TV online, read all the fine print, in order to avoid the very real possibility of being stuck with a defective unit that a bad dealer won't take back and the manufacturer won't repair.

Avoidance

Before ordering from an online HDTV dealer, there are two steps you can take avoid getting scammed:

1) Make certain they’re an authorized dealer by the manufacturer of the TV you’re interested in. If the price is lower than an authorized dealer, ask yourself: How is it possible they can sell it for less than a factory-direct vendor? How are they able to have such low margins? Are their methods on the up and up? Here’s what LG advises on its website:

LG’s Authorized Online Dealers have been carefully selected based on their commitment and knowledge of our product. With LG Authorized Online Dealers, you can rest easy. Buying from an LG Authorized Online Dealer will help prevent the purchase of goods that may have been damaged, tampered with or refurbished, all of which can void your warranty. LG Authorized Online Dealers receive training in seminars, online and from LG field experts, so they can be uniquely qualified to assist you with the LG products they sell.

You can check on the brand’s website or customer service dept. to learn if the dealer you’re considering is authorized. If not, we recommend not purchasing from them.

2) Carefully review the policies, especially the rules on product returns. While a number of legitimate dealers do not accept returns for TVs, scamming dealers never do. Others may have a limited return policy, charge a restocking fee, deduct the “free” outbound freight from the refund, charge for return freight or all of the above.

The Scam

We call the following “low-ball bait and switch.” The online dealer advertises a price below all competition and the state that the TV is in stock, and can ship it to you for free. You take the bait and place the order. Within a day you receive a phone call from the dealer to confirm the order. The salesman now employs high-pressure sales techniques to sell you anything he can, including but not limited to: a “3-D” HDMI cable for a 3-D TV (there is no such thing), a custom stand or wall mount, an extended warranty or our favorite, “expedited” extra-cost freight. They’ll explain the “free freight” offered will take weeks for the TV to get there, but for another $100 the set will arrive in a few days. An alternate pitch: the make and model you ordered is being discontinued or superseded by New Model X and they’ve got an “amazing” special for you.

Buy enough bait extras and you’ll get the TV you ordered. According to customer complaints, the add-ons won’t be the name-brand items promised, but cheap low-quality knock offs. Refuse the bait, and you will be waiting for the cows to come home before you’ll ever see your “hot” deal TV. Or worse, maybe when you open the box you discover it’s a repacked unit, defective, refurbished, scratched or whatever.

Abe’s of Maine

When researching this article the name Abe’s of Maine kept popping up, so we refer to them as the poster child bad online dealers.

A brief history: According New York's Better Business Bureau website, Abe’s of Maine opened its doors in Brooklyn, N.Y. in 1979. It is owned by Abe Mosseri. Here is what the BBB has to say about the N.Y. operation:

On May 22, 2007, this company’s membership in the Metropolitan New York BBB was revoked by our BBB’s Board of Directors due to the company’s repeated and unauthorized use of the BBB logo and failure to eliminate the underlying cause of complaints on file concerning: non-delivery of products, misrepresentation of availability of merchandise, refusal to honor cancellations or provide timely refunds, unprofessional conduct, failure to resolve customer complaints, overcharging, undisclosed cancellation of orders, improper upselling tactics, and bait-and-switch selling.

Since moving its operation to New Jersey, Abe’s ranking leaped to an A+ rating, even though they’ve scored 127 complaints to the N.J. BBB in the past three years. (Older complaints fall off the website after the three-year time period.) Abe’s in N.J. responds and settles, but apparently only when the customer files with the BBB.

Abe’s offers all the major brand HDTVs. We checked with Samsung, LG and Sharp to see if Abe's is a factory-authorized sellers of those HDTV brands. All told us no.
:-? :-B
lindseynicole010
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Re: Shopping Scams: Online and Offline

Post by lindseynicole010 » Mon Apr 23, 2018 8:30 am

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Thanks& regards,
Lindsey Nicole
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