Stay Safe from Scammers: Tips from the Better Business Bureau


Are you purchasing more online now? It’s convenient. It’s fast. But is it safe? 

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) found that online purchase scams have been in the top three types of scams since 2017. With this year’s social distancing to limit exposure, and many businesses previously closed and now slowly reopening with limited hours, many consumers are turning to online purchases for home delivery. But predators have been taking advantage of this increase in online purchases. 

BBB reports that in 2020 so far, 64% of reported scams are from online purchases, with a staggering 80.5% of consumers reporting they lost money from these scams. 

What is an Online Purchase Scam?

Online purchase scams typically involve the purchase of products and/or services via a website. Scammers offer attractive deals, but no product/service is delivered once payment is madeOr scammers pretend to purchase an item, but then send a fake check and ask for a refund of the “accidental” overpayment. 

Outsmart Scammers with Prevention Tips

BBB offers helpful information and tips to stay safe from online purchase scams and many other types of scams, such as scams for rental, employment, credit card and debt relief, tax collection, health care, and identity theft. 

Ten Tips to Protect Against Most Scams 

  1. Never send money via gift card or wire transfer to someone you have never met face-to-face.
  2. Avoid clicking on links or opening attachments in unsolicited emails.
  3. Don’t believe everything you see.
  4. Double check your online purchase is secure before checking out.
  5. Use extreme caution when dealing with anyone you’ve met online.
  6. Never share personally identifiable information with someone who has contacted you unsolicited, whether it’s over the phone, by email, on social media, even at your front door.
  7. Resist the pressure to act immediately.
  8. Use secure and traceable transactions.
  9. Whenever possible, work with local businesses.
  10. Be cautious about what you share on social media.
Find More Tips at the Better Business Bureau

BBB offers a handy scam tracker to find local scams in your area, a way to file a complaint, and a weekly scam alert email to stay updated on scammers’ latest tricks and tips to stay ahead of them. 

Safeguard your health. Safeguard your family. And safeguard against scammers. 

The sharing of any non-VA information does not constitute an endorsement of products and services on part of the VA.


Kiran Dhillon

An insatiably curious storyteller, Kiran is the communications lead for the Multi-Channel Technology Directorate with VA’s Veterans Experience Office. Kiran joined the Department of Veterans Affairs by way of the Department of Defense and the U.S. Peace Corps.


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