Many people who fall for these internet scams end up with a little more than a hole in their pocket.
Digital camera websites that are scams may appear legitimate. But watch out for the red flags and warning signs, which indicate that a site may be out to trap you:
- The prices of cameras are unrealistically low, sometime half the price of what respected online discount companies sell them for.
- The shipping costs are unusually low.
- The “company” doesn’t list a telephone number.
- The “company” doesn’t accept payment through more conventional ways such as credit card, check, wire transfer or reputable online payment systems (eg. PayPal, Google Checkout). The “company” instructs how and where to deposit the monies.
- The name of any contact person, if given at all, is often very strange.
- Once an order is placed, the “company” contacts you for additional personal such as date and place of birth. Providing personal information leaves you wide open to identity theft.
Bait and switch
Some sites do sell digital cameras at drastically low prices but then use “bait and switch” techniques.
Once an online order is received, they may send an email asking you to call a sales representative to confirm your order. The salesperson starts a hard sell and tries to cajole you into buying overpriced accessories, even some that should come in the box with the camera.
If you do not agree to buy the accessories, the salesperson may cancel the order saying the item is “out of stock.” Even worse, the individual may become aggressive and still charge your credit card even if you didn’t place an order for an item. If you do agree to buy the accessories, they may not send the right items or overcharge you, or both.
Before buying a digital camera online, check out the reputation of the merchant. Also make sure that the merchant is an authorized camera dealer.
If you’re a victim of an internet scam
Hopefully, you’re reading this article before you become a victim of a scam. If not and believe you’ve been defrauded, file a complaint with an organization such as the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3).