If you're like me, you're online constantly. But, as safe as the internet may seem at times, every single day it becomes more frightening. Scammers have ramped up their game in this past year alone. In fact, things are getting so bad the FBI and other government officials, such as the FTC, have issued several warnings this year about weak encryption, ransomware and phishing scams.
Of all the scams we've seen this year, there's a handful that truly stand out. We've already told you about the major scams that hit earlier in the year, but now we've got a whole new batch to warn you about.
These aren't your run-of-the-mill scams that fool a few hundred people. These scams have been so effective, they've fooled hundreds of thousands, even millions of people. And, the worst part is, they're still out there wreaking havoc. That's why we've rounded up the top five scams you need to look out for.
1. New eBay scam will make you think twice before buying another item
Today, the world revolves around Amazon. The online retailer makes the buying experience easy and hassle free. But for sellers, there’s anther story. You see, at Amazon, people aren’t just buying - they’re selling - and scammers are taking advantage of a loophole that could cripple a small business.
It works like this: a small mom and pop-type store will use Amazon Fulfillment centers to ship out their products. In these cases, Amazon packs the orders and ships all items out for the seller. But this service isn't free - a successful company could spend $100,000 for the service in just three months.
Here's where the problem starts: A scammer will find a product on Amazon, steal photos and product descriptions and sell the item on eBay for a higher price. The eBay seller will then use the Amazon Fulfillment centers to ship the item. Now, the original retailer sees none of the profits and is stuck with the shipping costs.
Then to make matters worse, if the shopper becomes privy to the item being cheaper on another site - let's say on Amazon - and cancels or returns their order, the original retailer is stuck with that headache and cost too.
That's exactly what happened to Fred and Natasha, creators of the best-selling Ripple Rug. Listen to their full story in the podcast below, or click here to listen.
What's more concerning is that the practice, known as "arbitrage" is commonplace and isn't illegal. The only solution in this case was to stop using the Fulfilled by Amazon service, partly to cut down on arbitrageurs. But they still have a store on Amazon and when they get an order from an arbitrage, it’s quickly canceled.
As an eBay shopper, make sure you can't find the item with a cheaper price on Amazon before you click "Buy."