Shopping online has many benefits: it’s convenient and fast, and you don’t have to leave the house! However, there are also risks involved with shopping online. Many horror stories of being defrauded by shady online sellers exist, especially when buying secondhand or pre-owned items. Whether it’s because they sell you counterfeit goods, send you a defective product, or take your money and run, many potential pitfalls can leave you out of pocket and without the advertised product. Thankfully, if you keep these tips in mind while shopping online, you can significantly reduce your risk of falling victim to a scam or other unpleasant situation. Here are 7 things that will help keep you safe when shopping online:
Check The Seller’s Reputation
Checking the seller’s reputation will give you an idea of the type of person you’re dealing with before you even make your purchase. This will help you identify whether or not the seller is trustworthy – and whether or not you should proceed with your purchase. Some sites like eBay or Amazon will have seller reputations built into their platform – so you don’t even have to leave your browser to check them! You can also search for the seller on Google, Bing, or Yahoo. You can use this information to get a better idea of how trustworthy a seller is and whether or not they’re a safe person to buy from.
Always Use A Trusted Payment Method
If the seller accepts a payment method that is riskier than others, like a cash payment, prepaid card, or a money transfer service, you might be at even greater risk of being scammed. Making secure online payments means having a transaction record, like a credit or debit card, or an online payment service like PayPal is best. If you use a credit or debit card, your financial institution should have a complaint process if something goes wrong. They will be able to help you through the process of claiming the seller, as well as help you get a refund for the product or service that didn’t come through as promised.
Read The Product Descriptions And Specifications
It can be all too easy to get caught up in the excitement of getting something new – but before making the purchase, carefully read the product descriptions and specifications. This will help you better understand what you’re getting and reduce the chance of receiving a defective or counterfeit product. You also want to ensure that the item is described appropriately – if it’s brand new, but the seller says it’s used, that’s another big red flag. If the seller is selling something new but using old photographs of the item for sale – that’s a red flag.
Don’t Install Unnecessary Software
Be very careful when downloading software from a seller. Some sellers will ask you to download a file or software before proceeding with the transaction. This is usually a scam designed to install malware on your computer. It’s possible that they might be asking you to download software to authenticate your identity or payment information – but if they’re pressuring you to download the software before you’re ready, or if you don’t know what the software is or what it’s for – don’t do it.
Know How To Identify Popular and Common Scams
Scammers use many common scams to trick you into giving them your money. It’s essential to be aware of these scams and how to identify them to avoid falling victim. One of the most common scams is the “too good to be true” scam. This is when a seller advertises a product for an outrageously low price. They might say they’re in a challenging financial situation and are trying to get rid of the item as quickly as possible. Another common scam is the “send me money for shipping and handling” scam. This is an attempt to trick you into sending money to the seller.
Make Sure The Website Is Secure
Before making any purchases, look at the security seal or badge on the website you’re visiting. If the website is not secure, it could mean you’re putting your identity and information at risk. This means the website has a proper SSL certificate that encrypts the information you’re sending to the server. This is important because a third party won’t be able to access the information you’re sending – which could be essential information like your credit card number, social security number, or other personal information. If a website isn’t secure, it could mean that it’s fraudulent or has been hacked. Avoid websites that do not have a secure icon or badge displayed on the website – and only shop at websites that have a secure icon or badge displayed on the website.
Shopping online is convenient and efficient, but it comes with certain risks. Protecting your identity and financial information and being wary of whom you’re doing business with is essential. Keeping these tips in mind can reduce your risk of falling victim to a scam or other unpleasant situation when shopping online.