Online buying in our country has been rapidly increasing over the years. This is perhaps due to the convenience it provides to consumers. You browse products on famous websites, few clicks, pay and wait for the delivery. Somehow this growing trend in shopping is extremely susceptible to the huge and fast adapting scammers who were initially available offline. Scams are well-planned and ready to catch you and get their share of e-commerce. So here are few tips to spot these scammers and avoid getting trapped in their malicious occupation.
I buy from a well-known online shopping website that has consumer protection and offers cash on delivery service. A friend of mine bought a tablet but wasn’t happy about it. There is no problem with returns because the website also gives refund to unsatisfied consumers. How about buying from Facebook groups or ad sites we found online? It is important we do our research.
There were quite number of times I bought brand new and second hand items from Facebook and ad site sellers. Items I bought were delivered via courier and there were no physical interaction before making the purchase.
The more visible the seller is – the better. The longer he/she is on the internet business – the better; especially if there is no negative feedback about him/her.
Buy personalized printing
It is funny – yes, funny, that people fall for this: “Get the item for free; just pay the shipping charge.” What is the chance you get that expensive IPhone for free and not realizing you are paying the shipping charge from across the globe, not to mention the customs charges when it enters your beloved country.
Give away only the important information.
You only need to provide your name, delivery address and contact number – the essentials in getting the product delivered to you. When asked about your birthday and your mother’s maiden name, think twice --- oh, nah, no need to think, let it go. The real business must be concealed from your view.
Look for a secured connection -- https:// Not all websites are secured but most credit and debit card payments are routed to a secured website like Paypal. Make sure also that you are using your own computer or mobile phone.
It is also safer to learn that your seller has savings & checking accounts from reputable banks but still offer remit center payment in the absence of bank in your area. Some sellers only accept payments sent via remittance centers. You better be aware that money can be claimed from anywhere in the country. Remit centers also accept non-government IDs for as long as there is SSS No. & TIN provided. Please know --- fake ID cards exist.
Of course, a crazy deal is on and you have the craziest urge to buy before it runs out.
I saw a post of slightly used laptops from an advertisement site. The specs were good and I was willing to take the risk of buying it. There were three of them and now there was only one left. I called the seller and asked if we can have a video chat so I can check the laptop, at least to see if it turns on. But the seller refused and said she is busy and assured me the unit is good. She sounded decent so her being busy to have a video chat didn’t turn me away. I was ready to buy and told her, I am sending the money thru a remittance center. She can claim the money and in return send the laptop through the same remittance center who is also a known forwarder. She refused and said there is no need for that because she is a legitimate seller and said she will only send the item after she gets the money.
Oh she got me confused and she didn’t bother giving me another reason why that was not possible. That way both of us can avoid being scammed -- her getting her sales, and me, getting my laptop. She’s not sending the laptop unless she gets the money; and I will not allow the money be released to her without the laptop. I don’t think my idea was something she has to be scared about. Like I said, I bought a few number of times and we had the same set up. Few times she mentioned you have to hurry, you need to send the money now because a lot of people are buying this item now. Well, I would rather not buy this time. Take a deep breath, relax and think something better will be posted soon.
Your guts will tell you so – yes, your guts – when you feel uncomfortable with the deal, you will probably have a disturbed stomach. Kidding aside, trust your intuition. If you get a second thought, ask for a second opinion or better yet, find something else.