People want to avoid scams as much as possible, but when it comes to online shopping, it’s almost impossible to know if you’re being scammed or not. Nowadays, there are numerous scammers out there, and the only way to know for sure if you’re being fooled is by doing some research first.

Scam Suspects And Prevention Tips

When it comes to buying products online, there are several red flags that can help you spot a scammer. Make sure that you’re not being scammed by being aware of the following:

Poor Customer Service

Some unscrupulous sellers will pretend to be someone they’re not online just to get your personal information. They’ll then sell that information to other scammers, who will use it to scam you. To prevent yourself from being scammed, only deal with companies whose customer service is good and whose reviews you trust.

Overstated Product Benefits

The more you read about a product, the more you’ll learn about its disadvantages. When you’re reading a seller’s description of a product, look for the phrases ‘best buy’ or ‘top offer’ to determine if their claims are fair. Overstating a product’s benefits is a classic scammer tactic. Make sure the item you’re considering buying actually does what the seller claims it does.

Lack Of Feedback

When a business receives a large amount of positive feedback, they often try to up-sale the product in question, whether it’s true or not. If you see that a lot of other people are giving the company good reviews without any signs of dissatisfaction, then you can be sure that they’re not a scam. The reverse is usually the case when many people are complaining about a certain product or service. Don’t be fooled by a company that doesn’t leave feedback.

Hidden Charges

When you click on a product and a small popup appears with various payment options, don’t be fooled by the ‘no charge’ option. In many cases, you’ll be charged for an item you didn’t order and weren’t expecting. Items with hidden charges are a common scam in today’s marketplace, and you should avoid buying products with these kinds of charges. You can look up the terms ‘stealth fees’ or ‘hidden charges’ on the internet to learn more.

Avoidance Of Fakes

Another way to avoid getting scammed is by avoiding buying products that are labeled as fake. If you really need a Louis Vuitton handbag but it’s sold online for a lot less, then it’s usually a scam. In these cases, you can be sure that the bag is not authentic.

As much as possible, consumers should avoid giving out their personal information to unknown sources, especially when receiving emails that seem suspicious or if the website offers services and products that they’re not familiar with.

Never Give Your Full Name

When filling out a form on a website, always use an assumed name or a fake name. Some scam artists will try to get your personal information or send you unsolicited emails from fake addresses. If you give your full name, then it’s easy for the con artist to find you.

Even if you think you’re being scammed, it’s still very unlikely that you’ll get your money back. However, if you do get scammed, then don’t worry about it too much. The best thing you can do is report the incident to the authorities and try to minimize your losses. Just be sure to keep your cards, receipts, and emails safe so you can prove what happened if you do get scammed.

Avoid Shopping Online After Hours

Shopping online during certain times of the day is usually safer than doing so during others. Many websites and mobile apps use a ‘captcha’ to prevent online scams. During these hours, a lot of schemers and scammers are usually offline, so there’s less of a chance of being fooled.

Do Your Research

Before making a purchase online, do some research about the company. Look for customer reviews and check out what other platforms they’re involved in (i.e. online shops, social media, etc.). Even if you think the review must be fake, it’s still helpful to see what other platforms the company is involved in. You can also use publicly available records to find out the company’s registration number and search for consumer complaints.

Never Sign Up For A Free Trial

Many times, businesses will try to get you to sign up for a free trial or discounted membership, offering a big savings if you do. However, in many cases, these kinds of offers are simply scam tactics designed to get your personal information. Just be sure to be suspicious of any offer that seems too good to be true.

If you’re ever doubtful about an online shop or a sale on social media, then it’s usually a scam. Since the identities of the companies and individuals who create internet scams are usually not hidden, it is often possible to report them to the appropriate authorities. Furthermore, if you do get scammed, then it’s usually possible to get your money back (at least in part). However, as mentioned before, it’s very unlikely that you’ll get your money back in full if you do get scammed.

Be Careful When Clicking On Links

If you receive an email that contains a link to a website or an online shop, then make sure you’re not being tricked. Sometimes, these links will be disguised as images and appear to be harmless, but they’re actually designed to trick you and get you to pay for services or products that you didn’t ask for. To avoid such problems, be sure to only click on links that you’ve already been directed to by an IP (Internet Protocol) address. If you’re not sure what this means, then do some research before clicking on any links (i.e. search the name of the website or company that you’re linking to).

Above All, Be Smart

Above all, remember to be smart when shopping online. Even though there are many benefits to online shopping, it’s still a dangerous place for those who aren’t aware of what’s going on. Make sure that you’re not being tricked into giving out personal information or being scammed by anyone. Always remember: if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. There’s always a catch, and you’ll usually be better off avoiding these kinds of situations altogether.

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