Keep your money safe from scams when shopping online
Let’s say you’ve been craving the newest iPhone model all your friends have been raving about. Unfortunately, they cost a small fortune.
But it’s your lucky day! A WhatsApp message appears (on your old, boring Samsung phone) from an unknown number. It’s an online store that sells the iPhone you want at only half the original price. But how can you tell if it’s actually a good deal, or just a scam?
It looks credible enough at first glance. It’s got an up-and-running account on Facebook that has several hundred likes and followers. When you contact the seller, they even agree to arrange shipping for the delivery, so you don’t need to meet IRL. That is super convenient, especially during the pandemic.
But wait – there’s a catch. The seller requires you to first make a hefty payment to their bank account, before they deliver the iPhone to you. So, do you trust that this seller keeps their word?
Red flags that warn of a scam
- The Facebook page is new. You can check this by clicking on the “Page History” under the “About” section on their page. This will tell you when the shop’s profile was created.
- The shop doesn’t list a physical address and office phone number.
- There are only a few posts on the page, and most of them are advertising other hot items, like face masks or tickets to an upcoming Blackpink concert.
- You can see angry complaints from buyers who didn’t receive their products after paying.
- The seller refuses to meet, and their websites often pop up for only a few weeks.
- Drop the company or seller’s name into Google and see what comes up. Don’t be too eager to believe the first few results, as some big scammers can buy the first few answers.
- Once your payment goes through, they disappear without a trace, leaving you out of pocket.
What if everything looks legitimate?
But, what if the store does have a brick-and-mortar shop, a website page has been up and running for a long time, and has mostly racked up positive reviews? You’ve even contacted previous buyers who have assured you of the shop’s legitimacy. Everything seems good to go, so you decide to buy.
Here are some extra tips just in case it’s still a scam: