How not to get scammed while shopping online

Consumer Reports offers tips to avoid being defrauded

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SAN ANTONIO – If you are like most people, you will do at least some of your holiday shopping online. The explosion of online shopping, unfortunately, has also given rise to more scams.  

When Kim Russo walks her dogs, she brings along her favorite insulated cup -- a product she loves so much, she wanted to give some as gifts. When she saw a deal for them on a Facebook ad last summer, she ordered nine of them and paid $140.

But months later, she is still waiting for the cups to arrive.

"I feel dumb,” she said. “I definitely feel dumb, for sure, that I, you know -- it's too good to be true."

If you've never heard of a shopping site you'd like to use, Consumer Reports said to do some homework before placing your order.

"A good place to start is the BBB, where you can note any complaints,” Octavio Blanco, Consumer Reports money editor, said. “The BBB also says use extreme caution when ordering form a company whose existence can’t be verified, as may have been the case with Kim."

Another good source of information is online user reviews. Type the name of the company and keywords "review" or "complaint."

Consumer Reports officials said to be careful when making purchases on Craigslist or other virtual bulletin boards. The key in those cases is to buy local.

Craigslist advises never sending money to someone you haven’t met and arrange meetings in a safe public place.

Another scam can come in an email that claims to be from FedEx or the post office. It says you have a package and asks for personal information to set up delivery. Delivery companies don’t ask for this type of information.

About the Authors:

As a consumer reporter, Marilyn is all about helping people stay safe and save a buck. Since coming to KSAT in 1985, she’s covered everything from crime to politics, winning awards for her coverage of the Mexican Mafia, Oklahoma tornadoes, children’s transplants, an investigation into voting irregularities and even a hit-and-run Santa Claus.