Be on the lookout for online shopping scams


Buying online is standard these days, from holiday gifts for others, to clothing, and even meals for our families. The rapidly changing technology makes it easier and faster than ever to buy practically anything we need, without ever leaving home.


But it’s important to remember that dangers still lurk online. So as you shop, make sure you’re watching out for these common scams:


1) Phishing
This scam is already an old one, but it still works. Phishing is an attempt to get you to share personal information — from passwords to credit card numbers. It is done through emails created to look like they came from a company you do business with. These emails often include links to fake websites, or ask you to reply to the message with information like a social security number.

Remember: No bank (including Horizon), university, or legitimate online retailer would ask you to provide this kind of information via email. And instead of using links to direct you to a specific, password-protected page, companies will typically just suggest you log into your account on your own, to view any secure messages.

2) Deals that are just too good to be true
Some sites sell clothes and other items at super-low discounts. And in some cases, those low costs are reflected in the product that’s delivered (which may look much different from the photo you see online). Poor craftsmanship, inconsistent sizing, and other issues — along with bad return policies — can put a damper on any purchase.

Instead of buying from little-known discount sites, stick with name-brand retailers you’ve known and done business with for a long time. And be sure to check before you buy, to see whether an item can be returned if you’re dissatisfied.

3) Gift card scams
There are a variety of gift card scams, but a subtle one involves making a three-way phone call to check a balance. This happens when you’re trying to get rid of a gift card you don’t need.

In this scam, a potential buyer naturally asks for proof of the gift card balance — and requests to be added to a call where you confirm the amount. When you call in, the buyer who is listening in, can record the touch-tones for the gift card account number you enter. They then use the account number to quickly make an online purchase, leave your gift card balance at zero, and pay you nothing.

Questions or concerns?

If you think you’ve come across a shopping scam, you can report your issues to the Federal Trade Commission. And if you ever have any concerns about an email you’ve received from Horizon Bank, please contact us at 888-873-2640 right away!