Shopping in-person is a very different experience than online shopping. Buying a product from an actual store gives you the opportunity to inspect it to your content and pay for it as you desire. However, online shopping is an art that you learn over time.
Online shopping has risen over the past few years but, the current COVID-19 pandemic has opened new avenues for people like nothing ever seen before. When I needed a better internet service provider, I shopped online too and subscribed to the Spectrum Internet plans after diligent research.
It goes without saying that online shopping entails many variables and unknown risks. There are so many things that could go wrong. Therefore, you should be aware of how scams work.
Understanding How Scams Work
Scammers in the world of the online shopping use state of the art technology to build websites and retail stores that look genuine. They use intricate designs, stolen company logos, fake domain names, and even stolen business numbers, etc.
Online shopping scams are getting better with time because they use social media platforms to create fake stores that remain open for a short period of time. These fake stories often sell branded clothes, jewelry, accessories, etc. Once they have scammed enough people by selling fake items, these stores disappear altogether.
How to Spot Scams
While shopping online, follow these 5 guidelines or tips to make sure you don’t get scammed.
1. Check If the Website is Trusted
The first rule of safe online shopping is making sure to shop from a trusted website. There are all kinds of online shopping platforms available to us in this era of digital advancement with irresistible deals. However, it is better to shop from trusted stores with a credible history if you don’t want to be scammed.
Here is how you can spot if the website you want to shop from is trusted:
- Check the HTTPS link in the browser bar or you can click on the padlock icon in the bar to confirm that the website is valid. A website is only valid if it owns the SSL or TLS certificate.
- Look for the trusted legitimate seal on the website.
In case you see any suspicious redirects or pop-ups, you should exit the site.
Online shopping also includes buying from stores that exist on social media platforms. To make sure that you are buying from a legitimate store, check its website using the aforementioned method and verify it using the following tips before making a purchase.
2. Read Product Specifications
Product specifications tell you details about the product you are interested in buying. Always read these specifications carefully. Pictures of the products are typically included in the specification and they can mislead you into a scam if you’re not diligent. Make sure to note the mentioned color, size, weight, material, and functions, etc. of the product. If anything seems off, it is always better not to rethink and look for alternatives.
3. Always Pay Attention to Reviews
Product reviews are an excellent way of spotting whether the seller and products are authentic and reliable or not. Even if the reviews are all good, be cautious, and look at the dates. If the reviews are all posted on similar or close dates and the writing pattern is the same then, the review may be fake. Beware of these scams and have a safe online shopping experience.
4. Details of Delivery & Shipping
Delivery is something that can destroy even a legitimate shopping experience. Even if your product leaves the store in perfect condition, it can get damaged during delivery. Scammers often show excellent quality products and ship cheap knock offs. The shipping takes longer and often you can’t trace your products. Be cautious of such tricks. While faster delivery or courier shipment is often a bit pricey, it is traceable and provides secure transit.
5. Methods of Payment
Payment method options are the best way to spot scams. Unless you are sure of the legitimacy of the business you are purchasing from, refrain from making online advance payments. While subscribing to Spectrum’s service, I paid my bills online using the Charter customer service phone number. Since it was all legitimate, I got confirmation of my purchase and the payment I made.
If you are buying something from a store you have not heard of before, do some research and find out if it is credible before you go ahead with your purchase. If a store is asking you to send money into a personal account, it is a red flag and you can end up in fraudulent activity.
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