The Better Business Bureau is issuing a warning that this year more than ever it is important to keep your eyes open when internet shopping for the holidays.

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You may be doing more shopping from home during the COVID-19 pandemic- but so is everyone else limiting the availability of certain popular items reports WIVB-TV.

The Better Business Bureau has found that as a result shoppers have become caught in Internet scams and as a result have lost money.

Melanie McGovern of the Better Business Bureau of Upstate New York said that 81 percent of shoppers who didn't do their homework and research sits in advance have been adversely affected.

“Unfortunately, scammers can target you just as national retailers can,” McGovern said.

The pandemic is making matters worse for unwary shoppers desperately trying to find high-demand goods that have been in short supply.

“They wanted hand sanitizer, they wanted puppies, they wanted things for their homes such as pools,” McGovern said. “Those were the types of online purchase scams we saw spiking, especially during the summer.”

Customers should be especially wary of scammers demanding alternative payment methods, and avoiding credit cards, which have built-in protection.

“A lot of people told us they were asked for prepaid debit cards, CashApp, Venmo, PayPal, things like that,” McGovern said.

Bottom line is that people have to look out for themselves, McGovern said.

Peer-to-Play apps such as Venmo, Google Pay, and Zelle warn consumers to only use them with friends, family, and businesses you have familiarity with.

Using something like PayPal, offers more protection than a personal account.

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