The Student News Site of Berkley High School


The Student News Site of Berkley High School


The Student News Site of Berkley High School


How to Avoid Internet Scams

Photo by Leeloo The First

A few days ago I fell victim to an internet scam.

I love Stanley Cups. I use mine almost everyday for coffee, and have been craving another one. The issue is, Stanley Cups are expensive, and I can’t justify spending $60 (that I currently don’t have) on a cup I already do have. So, when my friend sent me a link to Dicks Sporting Goods with a flash sale of Stanleys for $20, I jumped at the opportunity: my dad helped me pick out a color, and I bought one on the online website.

Skip to the next day, and the friend who sent me the link–and also bought off the website–realized we had been scammed. No confirmation email was sent, when she pressed on the link a different website page was shown, and the contact us email was a random series of letters. We then realized that the URL for this website was d—

While in hindsight this scam seems painfully obvious, in the moment it wasn’t. My parents had seen the website, and had truly thought it was legitimate. These scams are getting more advanced, and harder to spot. Even further, when one is excited to make a purchase and gets the site from a trusted friend, it is easy to trust it. But, it is crucial to remember that the internet is filled with scams, viruses, and cons–which everyone needs to be actively looking out for.

In reflection, here is what to look out for when buying online:

URLS: First and foremost, read URLs carefully and thoroughly. If I had skimmed through the URL, I would’ve easily seen that this site was disguising itself as Dicks Sporting Goods, but of course didn’t have access to their email. If a site seems fishy, look up the real domain. If I had searched for Dicks Sporting Goods, I would’ve found the real website, recognized that the one I had visited was illegitimate, and seen there was no Stanley Cup sale.

CONTACT US INFORMATION: Check that there is confirmation email on the page, and that it is legitimate. If the contact is a random email with a random name or series of letters that doesn’t pertain to the website, this is a sign that this is not a reliable site to buy from.

SALES: Look out for unusual sales. Stanley Cups are very expensive, and I have never seen them on sale. This mark down was surprising, so much so that I got so excited and bought it right away. I should’ve realized this sale, which marked down all Stanley Cups, was unusual, and made sure it was on a real website. In the end, don’t get carried away by excitement. Take your time and make sure that the website you are buying from is established and reliable.

CONFIRMATION EMAIL: After you buy, make sure you get a confirmation email within 24 hours. If you do not, then take the proper steps, then consider that this may be a scam.

If a credit card scam does trick you, here are ways to assess the situation and quickly sort it out.

Call the place you bought it from. I thought my sale was from Dicks Sporting Goods, so when I didn’t receive a confirmation email and the link I bought from had changed, I called (the real) Dicks Sporting Goods directly. They then confirmed that there was no sale from Dicks, and it was a scam. Calling headquarters is a great way to assess the reality of the situation.

See where the charge came from. My friend, who bought from this same website, was charged from Hong Kong. Dicks Sporting Goods is in America and here locally in Michigan. Being charged from Hong Kong isn’t logical, and another sign that this was a con.

Show your bank the fraud and cancel the charge. File a report for a fraudulent charge with your bank so the transaction can be blocked and you can be reimbursed. This way, you are getting your money back.

Call your bank and cancel your credit card. In my case, the card wasn’t charged but instead the card information was saved. I did not want this to be tapped into and charged on later, so my card was canceled and I got a new one through my bank. It is better to be safe than sorry, and it is always safe to get a new credit card from your bank if the security of yours has been threatened. The credit card company, in lieu of the fraud, will mail you a new card.

Photo by Pixaby

Again, be cautious and careful when shopping on the internet. And if a website you buy from does pan out to be a scam, act quickly and contact the website and your credit card company to get it figured out. Hopefully these tips will be helpful, and make you more mindful of the risk online scams pose.

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About the Contributor
Aria Dwoskin, Editor-in-Chief
Hi! I am Aria Dwoskin, and this year I am the Editor-in-Chief of the Berkley Spectator! I am a senior, and this is my fourth year on The Spectator.  I joined Journalism because I love writing, and love collaborating with an amazing team to create important articles! I enjoy writing about news and politics. When I’m not writing, I am usually playing tennis or reading. I’m so excited to grow as a writer and an editor this year! And most importantly, my favorite donut cutter donut is strawberry frosted with sprinkles (obviously).

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