Being scammed is equally possible than not being scammed. Everything is based on how much you know or don’t know about how the online system works. For you and for the people who are trying to steal from you. Scams can be defined on the internet as someone stealing your money, selling you an item that does not look like the picture and also refusing to return your money even when you have sent the item on return.
Shopping online might be convenient but the risk of getting scammed is higher too. From pictures that are stolen from other websites, a description that is not 100% the item you are buying, models that are photoshopped in order to make the items look good, there is full with information that is not real. Honestly, because most of the retailers get the item from wholesale places and then focus on sales instead of branding or the quality of the items.
Most online shopping scams are essentially ordering a product and never receiving the product, receiving a bad product and never getting your money back, so basically anything that requires you paying money and receiving nothing in return.
To be alert and ahead of online traps check this tips:
- Do your Research – Do a general google search about the website you are interested in, which will pull up a lot of information about the product and the seller. Everything is on the internet these days and there are several groups on Facebook dedicated to avoiding being scammed online infamous retail places like Amazon or Aliexpress. Read the description completely and if possible take snapshots of the page for future reference. Read the customer reviews about that seller, chose the seller’s product only when he has got better positive ratings, check things like pricing, cash on delivery, sizes, dates of expiry (if any), shipping costs, shipping locations, etc. and always compare prices from big to small websites before placing the order.
- Ask for tagged photos – When buying online, there’s always the risk that the seller has just taken a photo of someone else has posted online of the item you’re looking to buy. It has been always a headache to me and honestly, many small sellers in China send me their items for us to get the proper western model and take nice pictures, falt lay and so on for their weibo. The truth is, most people do not see the ROI in something like having their own pictures so they will copy and past pictures from another website mostly the ones on trend like NastyGal, TigetMist, Kogan, mostly from websites what almost nobody knows or which models are not known yet. In this case, ask the seller to send you a tagged photo. A piece of paper with their name and the date, their ID, their face, anything that can prove they have that item in their possession this is important for wedding dresses, prom dresses or anything expensive. If they won’t do this, it’s a big reason for you to suspect that something is not right.
- If in doubt, ask for a second opinion – If you’re unsure of the authenticity of the item, always ask for a second opinion. The forums, the Facebook groups, they’re all full of members with a knowledge that you should really utilize, and they’re more than willing to help. Don’t be afraid to ask for a second opinion.
- Beware of out-of-this-world offers! – If an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Whenever searching for a stuff, the listings are usually awesome in most cases. The images used on these shopping sites are bright, high definition and is an eyecatcher for you and your wallet. I know because I take them myself. But as they say “all that glitters is not gold”. This old proverb applies to most of the stuffs sold online. Read consumer reviews, ratings and comments. Negative reviews may be just the belly aching of whiny customers with unrealistic expectations, but why take the chance? Being honest: when in doubt, never buy.
- Buy only from secured sites – When you do your online shopping, you’ll have to provide financial information; most likely this will come in the form of your credit card details. No matter how secure a site may be, it’s important to realize that putting credit card information on the internet is inherently risky. Therefore, it’s important to minimize that risk. The easiest is to check if the URL begins with an “https://” because that means the website is a secured one. The “s” indicates an additional layer of security known as an SSL or Secured Socket Layer.
- Don’t give out too much information – The only information an online purchase should require is your credit card details, address, and phone number. If the website asks you for anything additional, like your social security number or your date of birth, you should be suspicious.
“The images used on these shopping sites are bright, high definition and is an eyecatcher for you and your wallet. I know because I take them myself.”
- Pay with your credit card or PayPal – Experts agree that one of the best ways to protect yourself when shopping online is to pay with a credit card. The credit cards have a significant fraud protection built in, but some payment methods don’t. Like wiring money through services such as Western Union or MoneyGram. They’re risky because it’s nearly impossible to get your money back. PayPal is also the safest way to make purchases online. About the PayPal I must say many sellers will send you to put your claim there and they are not going to give your money back, you must fill your address to receive items and put information about the seller, be aware of this; in many cases PayPal fails against the buyer for silly things like the receipt number, the shop information or not having your shopper account on Paypal settle on the right way. Be aware.
- Keep a tracking Number – If you have purchased an item you should receive a confirmation number and tracking number. Receiving only a confirmation number doesn’t guarantee you that your product will arrive. It is only once the tracking number is issued where you can follow up with exactly where your product is and when it will be shipped. Recorded delivery requires a signature and provides you and the seller with a tracking number, so everyone is aware when things do or do not arrive, and it insures the package you’re waiting, so if it does get lost, everyone is covered.
- Complaint Department – If you still find yourself the victim of a scam, or even a purchase you are unhappy with, do not hesitate to complain. If you are the victim of a scam, be sure that you take the time to go online and report it, because what that does is it gives us a lot more data so that we can prevent this from happening to other people.
- Protect your Mobile Phone – Smartphones can be a particular target. When you buy a new one, choose an option in the settings to lock your data — which does not happen by default. And before you trade in the phone, switch it to factory reset to erase all your information.
It’s exciting to order stuff online be it clothes, home appliances or accessories as you recline comfortably on your couch, but the experience can be devastating when a fake seller steals your money. With the development of dropshipping and online individual retail ownership, a lot of people is making money fast but also not in the most ethical way. I have experienced this with many company investors and brand owners that contact me for my aesthetics/photo shooting services. So, you should be aware of the common scams and ensure you’re taking the necessary steps to protect yourself from online threats.