Technology has made it easier for everyone to get what they want shipped right to their door. However, where technology exists, so too do malicious third parties. Scams abound online, and many consumers may not know what they should be looking for if they want to avoid losing their money and their sensitive information. Do you shop online frequently or plan on shopping online during the holiday season? If so, here are a few tips to avoid getting scammed when buying online products.
Always take a closer look at the customer reviews.
Customer reviews can be very telling about the quality of the product and the legitimacy of the business behind it. For example, if you’ve found a stunning pair of studded heels that you want to buy, see what others have to say about them online. Brands like Wild Diva have a background in footwear and customer reviews all over the internet, with customers describing their heels as comfortable, sexy, and flattering. Some websites even dive deeper into heels with studs and other footwear from Wild Diva to provide you with a more comprehensive overview of the shoe rather than just a brief paragraph about the product. Put simply, you can learn more about these shoes and Wild Diva with a quick Google search.
So, when are customer reviews problematic? You can generally identify fake customer reviews by seeing if the same comment is posted across multiple platforms (or if the same comment is only changed a little bit to increase the number of reviews published), checking for reviews that are overly positive or sound “salesy,” and looking to see if the product has five stars but a ton of reviews from real consumers that are negative and address the same issue. Checking the reviews can save you a lot of grief later on.
Thoroughly research the company and its staff.
As a consumer, it’s important that you do your due diligence to determine whether or not a company is real. The first step you should take is to navigate the website and see if there are any major red flags. These red flags may include a website that looks thrown together or is difficult to navigate, major grammar issues and misspellings on the website copy, and a lack of important pages like the “About Us” or “Contact Us” sections that most websites should have. You should also look up the company online to see if there are any existing reviews or if they have a presence beyond just their website.
You can go a step further and use a free people finder to look up their staff. If they don’t have any staff information, this is troubling enough. However, if you have the first name, last name, and current address of the CEO or similar executives and the background report yields nothing of value because the person is fake, this most certainly is a scam. On the other hand, your background check may actually find someone real. In this case, you will receive vital information like their phone number and email address, public records and criminal records, and other personal details that will come in handy if you need to report them for dishonest business practices.
Don’t buy products through social media.
Social media scams have spiked in recent years, with people buying products that are of very poor quality or don’t ever arrive at their homes. One simple rule to follow is this: If a product seems too good to be true, it most likely is. Whether the pricing is too low or the product sounds fantastical, it’s best to avoid these ads altogether. As long as you do your research and avoid any scammy ads, you should be safe buying stuff online!
Shopping online is generally safe, but you can be scammed out of your money if you don’t know what to look for. Use the tips in the guide above each time you shop somewhere new to avoid losing your money or buying something that’s not as advertised.