Watch CBS News

How to avoid scams when shopping online from overseas retailers

Avoiding scams when buying from overseas online
Avoiding scams when buying from overseas online 02:00

BOSTON - Holiday shopping season is winding down and if you're shopping online, you're going to want to watch out for scammers, especially if you end up buying something overseas.

We've all been there, mindlessly scrolling on social media. And if you scroll enough, some of the ads from brands and sites you've never heard of actually start to look good to you. You click on one, one thing leads to another and the next thing you know you're on the website of a store that you've never seen or heard of here in the United States. 

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) said they know several retailers that legitimately do business overseas but here's what you need to keep in mind before you "throw it in the bag."

  • Look for the BBB seal.
  • Check the website and social media of the store - not just for contact information but make sure you're looking at those comments too!
  • Make sure you check the privacy policy. If there isn't one, the BBB said that's a red flag.

"You want to know what the timeframe is for delivery, what the return policy is and if you're unhappy with the product, what are the next steps? So you have to do your research," said Paula Fleming, the chief marketing and sales officer for the BBB of Eastern Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Vermont. "Read the fine print and know that if you're waiting until that last minute, you may not get the product in time."

If you have old school parents, then this next BBB tip won't be new to you, but Fleming advised that you save a copy of the confirmation page or email confirmation until you receive your item. If a business can't ship within the promised time, the Federal Trade Commission said they have to provide you with a revised shipping date, with the chance to either cancel your order for a full refund or accept the new shipping date.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.