Camden, N.J. – Many families are turning to online shopping to limit their outdoor trips during the COVID-19 pandemic, but the increase in online purchases can bring risks for those who aren’t familiar with buying items on the internet.

“Some scammers can be really savvy in designing webpages or items to look legitimate, but their intention is to steal your money instead,” said acting Camden County Prosecutor Jill S. Mayer. “People who don’t typically shop online might not know what to look for in a legitimate site, so we hope by sharing these tips, we’ll prevent someone from becoming a victim.”

One of the first things to check on a site is the address and its spelling; fake sites could be just one letter off from the legitimate site, so make sure the spelling is correct. During checkout, most secure websites begin with “HTTPS” with the “S” standing for secure.

Detectives said to be cautious when clicking an advertisement as you don’t know where they lead. If you’re interested in making a purchase from a company you’re not familiar with, enter the merchant’s name in a Google search or on the Better Business Bureau’s website to read reviews and complaints.

When making a purchase, investigators said there are more protections for credit cards than debit cards, so use credit or a service like Paypal or Apple Pay that’s linked to your card.

After the purchase, monitor your bank statement to ensure the purchase price matches what you’re charged. If any unfamiliar charges show up on your account, detectives said put a freeze on the account immediately and contact your bank.

While online shopping provides convenience and a sense of calm during this time, it’s important to stay vigilant and take the right steps to protect yourself. For more tips, visit StaySafeOnline.org.