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How to Avoid Online Shopping Scams

 Tips for Avoiding Online Shopping Scams & What to Do If You're a Victim of  One

The internet is like that gift that keeps on giving. It has now made it possible to seamlessly satisfy all your shopping needs at the comfort of your home. But just as internet shopping is becoming popular, online shopping scammers are growing equally as adept in finding new ways of snatching your hard-earned money from right under your nose.

The online scams mostly involve slick-looking replicas of genuine sites that will lure you with their unbeatable deals on hot products. So you go ahead, and a make a hefty deposit in good faith, only to start waiting on a product that will never arrive. In the off chance that it does arrive, it looks nothing like it did in the pictures. And the last thing you need is ordering that cute tank top and end up with a sweatshirt for your chihuahua. 

Well, much as you might know your way around a computer, there are a few extra practices you should take to keep yourself fully protected. The most important of all, especially if you are purchasing products, is to read reviews on topproducts sites to make sure you are getting the best. For this reason, we have done our research and compiled for you a few measures that will help you avoid online shopping scams.

Consider Online Reviews Made By Other Buyers

Perhaps the first thing you should do when purchasing a product on a website is to check for any complaints or negative reports made by other users about the retailer. These unbiased opinions are the best way of finding out other peoples real-life experiences with the product and learning just how reliable the retailers are. Some of these scammers tend to fabricate their own positive reviews, so you should be especially keen on the negative ones.

Additionally, you can do a simple Google search about the product and see whether you’ll get any stories about the retailer. If a lot of negative reviews pop up, then the retailer is likely to be a scammer, or the product faulty.

Another thing you can do is search the domain name on sites such as WHOIS and find out just how long ago the site was registered. In this case, a merchant who has only just registered is more likely to be a suspect. 

It comes as no surprise to learn that most users already take this step. In fact, statistics show that up to 92 percent of online shoppers consider reviews before making a purchase. The bottom line, however, is that in most cases, if the deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is. 

Check For Anything That Can Validate The Website

Many of the more legitimate websites will have something to prove the actual existence of the company. For example, if you scroll down at the bottom of a webpage, you’ll see a link to an “about us” or “contact us” page. There, you are likely to find a phone number or physical address of the company. You can search for these addresses on your Google maps and check if the location seems likely to accommodate a legit business. 

Also, you have the option of calling the phone number and seeing if someone answers. For more proof, you can also look up the phone number itself in the reverse phone lookup directory. This should give you information on the name of the number owner, as well as their location. You can validate its credibility by comparing this to the information on the contact page. 

Again, most corporate U.S based business will appear on the Secretary of state website of the state where they are based. Therefore, if you can access the actual corporate name of the business, and the state where it is located up, you can look it up and confirm its existence on the secretary of state website.

Take A Look At The Wording And The Site’s URL

Some of the most common red flags on illegitimate sites are misspelled words and bad grammar. Therefore, it is vital that you look closely at the exact wording on the website. Start by looking at the content itself. Is it easy it is to read and understand?  Are there any foreign symbols or characters? Does it sound like it was written by people who speak English? Can you see any broken links or spam links on the websites? Afterwards, do the same with the URL, the product description and the customer-service pages.

You see, sometimes scammers make up facsimiles of websites that you are familiar with. To keep yourself protected, you must be keen on the URL. Check that the business make is spelt correctly and that there are no irrelevant characters.

Also, on the URL, ensure that it isn’t overly complicated or long. For example, the URL on the landing page of a popular site like Amazon is simply Amazon.com. Therefore if the first page shows Amazoni.com or amazon.com/make-payments-on-toys, it is likely to be fraudulent.

See That The Site Has A Seal Of Approval 

Check that the site has a seal of approval from reputable organizations that can vouch for the retailer’s credibility. Some common seals of approval include a Better Business Bureau seal, the Norton Secured Seal, a TRUSTe Certified seal or something to show responsible data collection practices. 

Note that logos can at times be faked so this shouldn’t be taken as a perfect guarantee. However, it is still a positive sign that the retail website can be trusted.

You’ve also probably seen a padlock symbol appearing on a sites URL. This is usually used to show that the site securely protects your payment information. However, scammers have been known to copy this as well. You should only trust the padlock symbol if it appears in the same field as the site’s URL. The URL itself, in this case, should begin with the term “https”. Here, the “s” usually stands for secure.


Ordering stuff on the internet is as exciting as it is convenient. But this experience can quickly become devastating if you end up losing your money. Hopefully, with a few of our recommended practices up your sleeve, you can be more at ease as you send out your money to online platforms. Remember, you can’t be 100 percent secure from scams, but the more you keep practising care, the less likely you’ll fall prey to the scammers.

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