Online shopping can be unavoidable with a pandemic at large. It is important to stay away from all the online shopping scams that exist today. Some scams have been around as long as the internet has been selling goods while new scam variations can pop-up frequently leaving no online transactions too safe to scrutinize.
Anyone can create a website that appears to be a real retail operation. It is not difficult to mock-up a nice looking transactional website with all the bells and whistles like reviews, awards, local location, pictures of products, along with a snappy name to catch your attention. You would be hard pressed to know whether a site is real or not. If you have any doubts of whether an online business is real or fake, it is best to avoid it altogether. Some of these sites can advertise unrealistic prices for products that would not be found at any other retailer. If prices are too good to be true, it is likely to be a scam. Make sure to do your research. Don’t be afraid to call the company and try to speak to a real person. Even after speaking a live person on the phone, you still need to scrutinize the conversation and make a judgment as a whole. Before exposing yourself to a significant amount of risk, maybe you can try to test the website with a small transaction to make sure they are real before doing larger transactions. Also try to protect yourself by using a payment method that can protect you from such scams. Scam sites are known to sell fake products or use your payment information to overcharge your account.
Craigslist, OfferUp, Mercari, Other Similar Sites
Local trading sites such as Craigslist, OfferUp, and Mercari can be a breeding ground for scammers. Any site where someone can sell products with just an email address, is not only a risky place to shop, it can be a risky place to list items. New users of these websites can get offers from people who claim to be a foreigner or out of area temporarily with requests to get bank account information so they can wire funds. This type of request should be avoided at all times. The buyer is fishing for personal information to be used for fraudulent activity. Sellers can also become robbery victims as some buyers aim to steal items upon meeting the seller.
Ebay is known for sellers with fake products and misrepresentations of products. Buying from a seller with a high seller rating is one way to try to protect yourself from scams, but sellers can also be scammed into accepting offers from fake buyers. A buyer can lock in a transaction when the seller accepts an offer. At this point, the buyer can then attempt to trick the seller into providing personal information which the seller can then use to defraud the buyer while never paying for the item that was purchased. If your listing on Ebay caught in one of these traps, you can contact Ebay to cancel the transaction and relist the item. To avoid this type of scam, make sure to transact with buyers that have a good buyer rating and also make sure the buyer quickly pays through traditional methods of payment that Ebay accepts without any special arrangement.