Michigan Attorney General warns residents of potential online shopping scams

Published: Nov. 26, 2021 at 6:11 PM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - As we enter the holiday shopping season, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is reminding residents to be watching for holiday scams.

As more people do their shopping online, Nessel has a few tips for people to make sure they can detect a scam.

Nessel said there are a few easy ways to detect a scam -- including checking to see if the online store you’re shopping at really exists and doing a quick Google search for reviews.

If the reviews are negative, or if none exist, you should probably take your money elsewhere.

Another easy way to check a store’s credibility is to look at the website’s URL.

”Make sure that the site you’re shopping on has something called an SSL encryption installed and this is how you know: it’ll say HTTPS instead of just HTTP and it’ll have this locked padlock icon and it’ll appear just to the left of the URL in the web address bar,” Nessel said. “That’s how you know it’s safe.”

Examples of the padlock icon designating a secure URL on (left to right) Google Chrome,...
Examples of the padlock icon designating a secure URL on (left to right) Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge and Mozilla Firefox browsers(WILX)

Nessel said her department hasn’t heard of many in-person scams at stores in Michigan. However, with the recent supply chain issues, she said some retailers might try to get people to buy things on the spot, claiming limited supply might leave you disappointed if you don’t jump at their products.

“Better safe than sorry,” Nessel said. “I know people want to do their shopping generally in the evening or on the weekends, but especially if you’re making a big purchase, best to give us a call and to let us know.”

As we approach Giving Tuesday, another thing to pay attention to is the charity you’re donating to. Residents should always check to see how much of their donations are put toward charity, rather than fundraising costs or salaries.

Tips to avoid online scams:

  • Research the retailer. Some businesses are fabricated by people who just want credit card information or other personal details.
  • Avoid online retailers if you cannot verify their listed physical locations and customer service phone numbers.
  • Do an online image search of the product and any other images the seller has posted to see where the product is coming from, how much it costs and who else is selling it.

Nessel said anyone who has concerns about a particular online store can reach out to her office and they will be able to determine if the store is real or fake. You can file a complaint on the official Michigan Attorney General website here.

Copyright 2021 WILX. All rights reserved.

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