Before the internet era, the most reliable way to shop was to visit the store in person, pick the item off the shelves and pay at the till. Today, things are easier and more convenient for shoppers. Online shopping saves time, and from the comfort of home or anywhere else, shoppers can browse through hundreds of items at the click of a button. Unfortunately, it’s not always a clean process, as several scammers are out there. Three in four people get scammed and lose lots of money. These are some suggestions for preventing this and being safe while online shopping.
1. Unfamiliar payment options
A scammer’s only interest is to make you lose money; lots of it. The only way they put this grand scheme into action is to focus on instant, untraceable payments. Therefore, many online scammers opt for payment options you may not be familiar with. PayPal, Credit cards, AliPay, and WeChat Pay are more popular and acceptable online payment platforms. You can also check out Blue Nile reviews at PriceScope.com for information on this platform. These are trusted electronic payment platforms used for many years. Therefore trust is already established.
An unfamiliar payment platform could be a red flag. A legitimate online retailer would want customers to be comfortable with electronic payments. This explains their preference for widely known platforms that quell buyers’ doubts. On the other hand, a fake online store will use untraceable payment methods that make it hard to prove a transaction. Some may ask buyers to pay for items with Bitcoin or wire transfers. When you see these things, it is better to exercise caution than proceed to make payments.
2. Non-existent contact information
An online shop must have traceable contact information for its clients and customers. Any shopper should be able to call the phone lines, send an email (and receive a response), or locate the shop without hassle. Additionally, you should be able to search for a seller’s address in Google or other trusted search engines. When all these checks fail, you may be dealing with suspicious or non-existent contact information. Another thing worth knowing is how some fake online stores have evolved in their crime.
Furthermore, they may have traceable phone numbers and addresses, but the thing is, they lead nowhere. Sometimes, an address may lead to an abandoned warehouse. One way to avoid falling victim is to check for reviews about the online store. Although statistics indicate that 30% of online reviews are cooked, there is a way to sift through the authentic ones. Unusually high five stars can be a red flag. A lack of details and mention of competing products could indicate cooked reviews.
3. Unusually high negative reviews
While this may be a little tricky, there is something to learn from it. Unusually high negative reviews often indicate people’s displeasure with an item. This can happen to any legitimate company. However, some things differentiate negative reviews about a legitimate company from fake ones. People giving negative reviews about fake stores will indicate the challenges of getting somebody on the phone. Others will use words like ‘non-existent,’ ‘fake,’ ‘scam,’ and other descriptive words that leave no doubt about a possible fraudulent activity.
You can avoid becoming a victim by using the scam tracker tool developed by the Better Business Bureau. It works by relying on information provided by consumers who lost money to fake businesses. This tracker tool constantly updates itself with new information and data provided by the public.