Here some useful, simple tips to prevent being scammed on online stores. This are not individual tips, they are a step-by-step guide, if you make all the following steps, you won’t be scammed by criminals on the web using online stores:
1. Before you pay, check conditions where you can rollback your payment on your own, without the suppliers alternatives. Usually cash is a bad idea, you won’t see it again. For example, credit cards, paypal, third party payment services, depending on your bank, have a # of days you can call them and cancel a charge if you say you don’t recognize it or it was made by a fraudulent company, check this with your bank or third party service before you do online purchases, so you are ready and also, you don’t give money that fraudulent people can keep, because if your complaint to your bank or third party company holds, the money you paid them gets withdrawn from their account.
2. Before you pay, check the suppliers conditions of refunds, buyer protection, guarantees. If you are purchasing in not as well known online stores as Amazon, Ebay, Alibaba, you should check well conditions of payment, refunds, if they have a buyer protection policy if an item never arrives or arrive with defects if the refund you or exchange the item for you, in case they are a serious seller, you are protected. If they are not a serious seller, and they are just scam, this will be irrelevant, but still needs to be checked before, so you are ready.
3. Be always skeptical on your first purchases. If you still don’t know they are a a real, true company do the following:
A. Look them up on the Internet: Use a search engine to look for the companys name and domains if you can find information that can guide you thru scam or not scam site.
B. Try them with something cheap: Hold your horses now, if you found a good supplier at good price, it is going to worth the wait, put a small risk into it, first purchasing as cheap as you can, so your risk is low, so you can try all the process with them, and if you are still not sure they want to nail you, keep trying with small shipments, and wait until you receive them, be reserved.
C. Be aware of the dates, cancel your payment: If the time where your bank protection (number 1 in this article) is about to expire, don’t wait for it to expire, cancel your payment with your bank or third party payment company, because if this time passes, you won’t be able to do anything anymore if the site was fraudulent, if it wasn’t and you receive everything, you’ll pay later.
4. Their job is that you DO NOT become aware they are scammers, if they are indeed a fraudulent online store that steal money from their customers, you will most likely never be 100% sure that they are scammers, they will try to hide it and lie as many times as they need in order to hide it, but you don’t need to know this for sure to act accordingly to the facts:
1. You pay them, you are the customer, they should make you smile: they should ship you products / services on time with expected or promised quality and specifications.
2. They are not doing you any favors, they are supposed to be doing this for a profit, so you deserve a great, fast service and response to your questions on time, if not they might be stalling.
3. You don’t care about their internal problems, you are not their manager, neither the owner of their company, you are not a QA specialist, you don’t care, and they should not tell you about their internal problems like “Our supplier is delayed” or “Our products are stuck in customs” or “Several employees got fired so we are short in personnel”, etc, etc, etc. This are usually lies, just to keep you waiting, usually this internal excuses means that this will just keep going and going for many time in the future, and sometimes, you will never see your goods. Think about it, even if their internal excuses are true, no one resolves that problems in one day, some of those problems (if true) delay months to resolve internally or years, your order is screwed forever! They might just tell you that “the dog ate your order”.
4. So if you are 55% sure they are scammers, slide the bar to 100%, tweak your brain and turn it into 100% and act accordingly, 55% is just more than enough evidence. Act!
5. Use your sixth sense. Check this tips that might help to identify a scammer online store. You usually know in your heart or gut when someone is lying or something is just not right, follow your heart and gut in this situations, override your brain.
A. They have lowest prices: I’ve identified and proved several scam sites, they usually give a lower price, or too low to believe, than the serious stores you know are not fraud, and this lures us as customers to save some money and try them out, and this usually makes them lure a lot of people at once.
B. They hide and are ambiguous: You usually, at the MOST wait 24 hours for the supplier to respond to your questions with a direct, honest, simple answer to your questions. Frauds and scammers usually delay more, and provide generic not useful words that don’t respond to your very specific questions. This is because they need to delay it in order to their scam to work, so your bank protection ends and the money is not withdrawed from them.
C. Might be less educated: Not a rule, but I’ve encountered that some of this fraudilent scamming sites are managed by people that don’t even have good spelling or grammar, they are all over the place. This is logical too, who would hire someone that doesn’t even send an email correctly? Sometimes comes true, but we know being a thief or a criminal comes in all sizes and colors (educated or not educated).
6. Report this to your local / national authorities
A. Report to Government / Police: Very important step! If you don’t take legal steps, at least file a complaint to the government, to the official authorities, this scam will go on and one for some time, it might get to friends or people you get to know. Report them! Many people don’t know their country has a special anti online crime division, but most governments today have it, report it with them, put a complaint with national commerce affairs and even with the police. If many do this, you will be sure they are going to be stopped by the authorities.
B. Report to advertisers: Seeing their ads on google, facebook ads, etc? Report to them, there are options for you to report fraud with this companies, avoid them to be able to advertise and spread.
C. Report to your known associates: Post on your social network, on your whatsapp group, on your mailing lists, be specific, alert the people you know, you will be surprised with their response, you might get to know a friend of a friend who works on the government and might help from the inside.
Hope this helps you! Leave your comments, help others not to get scammed by online criminals, they don’t deserve your honest earned money.