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Beware the scammers

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By Fiona Reid
Annan and Eskdale
Beware the scammers

TOP tips for safe Internet shopping have been released by Dumfries and Galloway trading standards officers.

They warn that online shopping can present opportunities for fraudsters and advise Internet shoppers to ensure they are aware of their rights and what they can do to protect themselves.

And Dumfries Councillor Colin Smyth said: “Shoppers should remember when shopping online that if something sounds too good to be true then it probably is. We know how busy Christmas can be so we don’t want to overwhelm people with complicated advice, but we urge shoppers to follow Trading Standards’ basic tips.

“It’s easy to get carried away when you spot a bargain online but take a step back and think before you buy it. Trading Standards want to help ensure that you are protected from bogus sellers and other forms of cyber-crime.”

Trading Standards online shopping tips:

  1. If possible, buy from Internet traders you know and trust.
  2. For unknown traders, search for reviews online or check out their customer ratings.
  3. Make sure the trader has a genuine address and landline number you can contact them on if things go wrong, not just an email address.
  4. You have a 14 day cooling off period to change your mind and return/cancel most goods or services purchased online from a UK or EU trader.
  5. You can return faulty or misdescribed goods free of charge to a trader, but you may have to pay to return goods if you simply change your mind. Check refund and return policies.
  6. Always use a secure form of payment to pay for goods or services, for example PayPal. Never simply transfer money.
  7. Don’t enter your card details in to a website unless it is secure. Look out for the padlock sign and ‘https’ in the web address.
  8. For purchases over £100, if you have a credit card consider using it for the purchase to give you extra consumer protection.
  9. All orders must be confirmed in writing. Print out your order and receipt, and keep any terms and conditions that appear on the web site, just in case of any disputes or problems later on.
  10. Watch out for bogus websites selling counterfeit branded goods and charging genuine prices and be cautious of very low price offers. For links to genuine retailers visit: https://www.brand-i.org/. Brand-i is a shopping directory supported by the Trading Standards Institute, so you know it’s a reliable source of information.

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