The BBB warned on Friday in a scam alert that phony e-commerce sites have been hitting shoppers with a bill for “discreet shipping.”
The extra fee allegedly pays for special packaging or stamps, but according to the nonprofit, it’s a trick to get consumers to hand over more money.
The BBB said consumers order something online and pay for the product and shipping. But before the item can be delivered, the vendor contacts the consumer and claim they need to pay an extra fee for “discreet shipping.”
The bureau said it’s gotten “multiple reports” of the scam from consumers who purchased diet pills, vaping products, ammunition, CBD edibles, or other similar products.
Some consumers have also been told by scammers that they must pay for “discreet package stamps” to prevent their packages from passing through customs.
The BBB said scammers usually ask for payment through a digital payment app such as Zelle or CashApp.
How to avoid shipping scams this holiday season
Secondly, understanding how different payment methods work is important, according to the bureau. Different payment types come with different rights and responsibilities.
FILE – A credit card is held next to the keyboard of a laptop. (Photo by Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty Images)
Lastly, the BBB suggests that consumers should check for a secure website when buying anything online. Look for the “https://” URL structure in the company’s web address and the padlock symbol in the address bar.