The internet is a wide world. And that doesn’t make it 100% safe.
There are many scammers out there. And while they do make up a “minority,” falling into the hands of one can be disastrous.
You risk losing your personal information, credit card info – and thousands of dollars in cash.
But no worries. Today, we’ll help you avoid falling into the hands of online scammers.
We’ll list 5 tips for safe online shopping. Follow them, and enjoy a good consumer experience!
A common scam tactic is to sell products for cheap – just to get new buyers.
It’s a plea to the “bargain hunter” instinct. It’s a tactic that preys on cheap individuals seeking a quick offer.
Don’t fall for those tactics. You should have the ability to judge between “realistic” and “unrealistic” discounts.
Don’t just shop at one online store. Compare prices at multiple stores.
If you see a product’s price as too low, then take caution. Try to do your due diligence, and research the sellers.
And speaking of research…
We’re not saying you should at “large and expensive” brands.
Instead, we think you should seek trust. That is, look for a seller that’s well-reviewed, and has a fair amount of experience.
The more sales under their belt, the better.
Look for personal identities.
That is, look to see if the store you’re shopping at has a “real person” behind them.
That’ll be a social media profile, a personal blog – or even a Twitter following.
You’re more likely to get trusted treatment from a “publicly known” seller. After all, a scam can put their reputation on the line!
If you can’t find an online personality, then no worries. There are other metrics you could take a look at, such as…
A good seller accepts diverse payment channels – and they highly value “the secure channels.”
First and foremost, seek online merchants that accept PayPal.
Those stores are more trustworthy than ones that ask for credit cards.
What if They Don’t Accept PayPal?
Then we recommend staying away from them.
PayPal is an industry standard for online wallets. It’s the go-to channel for exchanging donations and payments.
A seller that doesn’t accept PayPal is either years behind – or a real scammer.
What About Bank Transfers?
We only recommend those for merchants that sell “highly valuable items.”
Specifically, we mean multi-thousand dollar pieces of equipment (such as furniture, lab equipment, etc.).
Here, you’re checking more for a reputable brand, and less for payment methods. You want brands with many years of experience.
Quality comes as a priority over payment channels – since you’re almost always seeking professionals!
In other words, shop using your own Wi-Fi. Never shop using public internet connections.
So don’t shop at public cafés or outdoor hotspots.
In those situations, you never know whether the information exchanged is safe or not. You don’t know if hackers have access to those networks or not.
At home, your network is under your control. You can place a password, and monitor devices that access the network.
You can secure yourself – ensuring that devices you don’t know of don’t gain access!
That’s the last tip on our list.
Many scammers are hustlers. Their idea of profiting is to quickly scam unwitting victims, then moving on.
If you see a random email in your inbox (from a site you never subscribed to) then beware.
Try not to click their links. And especially avoid those links if they ask you to download something!