The global e-commerce market is rapidly growing, some figures even estimate it to reach the value of $4.9 trillion by 2021. This, of course, gives online scammers a great opportunity to profit from the regular consumers’ gullibility. Some reports show that 1 in 10 adults in the US become a victim of online fraud every year. The LegitGrails team is dedicated to help you avoid becoming a victim of any type of a shopping scam, so we are sharing some useful information below.
- How do online scams work?
- How to notice red flags?
- How to stay protected?
- Have you been scammed?
How do online scams work?
First, it is important to point out that almost every online platform allows the scammers to exploit the customers due to the fact that they are able to stay anonymous. Those platforms that have a marketplace structure have particularly a high danger level, as there is no authorisation process employed to make sure the sellers are legitimate.
Then, there are fraudulent websites that often pose as the official ones with the use of design or search engine optimisation. The websites may employ similar logos, names and layouts in order to trick the unaware customer. It is also easy to mix-up those websites with some reputable retailers.
There are of course some scammers that prefer to use social media. It is quite easy to stumble upon a social media account with numerous followers (that could also be fake) and be tricked into purchasing a replica.
Different types of online shopping scams may lead you to outcomes varying from purchasing a fake designer goods to losing your money or personal details. Let’s discuss some warning signs to consider when shopping online.
How to notice red flags?
- When the online posting seems too good to be true. That includes characteristics such as an extremely low price, incredible benefits of the product or service being advertised, and other unbelievable features. It is important to stay cautious and reasonable when buying online, especially if the product you are looking for is expensive.
- When some persuasive schemes are being used. If the seller pushes you for an immediate payment, hurries you in order for you to ‘not miss the deal’, or employs any other persuasive tactic - be aware! Authentic sellers are unlikely to be pushy or rushing.
- When they are not using secure payment methods. Payments through a wire service, cash or vouchers do not guarantee buyer protection in case something happens.
- When there is little or no information about the seller/ website online. Usually, reputable websites would have some social accounts, or other media to use as a reference. Although online sellers could choose to stay anonymous for personal reasons, some authentic sellers would have transparent accounts and positive reviews.
- When there are no reviews. As previously mentioned, it is important to make sure that there are some reviews left about the product you are planning to purchase, or the seller you are purchasing from. However, please make sure that you are staying reasonable, as online reviews can also be tricky. Those can be faked, or left by the unaware customers that purchase replicas from a scammer without any knowledge of it.
- When there is no transparent communication. There are some cases where the store/ website/ seller is new to the market, hence there was no time for them to gather positive reviews or leave any information about them online. In this instance, they could provide quick and easy communication in order to dispel your doubts. In case the website or the individual do not have any contact information - beware of purchasing, or there will be no way to contact them in case of something going wrong.
- When there is no adequate information about dispute resolution, terms and conditions, and privacy. Following from the previous point, authentic websites and sellers would be open to communication and would share all the useful information freely.
How to stay protected?
- Avoid purchasing designer items from websites that advertise huge discounts. It is unlikely that fashion houses or retailers will sell their products on sale, especially if the original price is crossed out and it says ‘80% sale’ on the side.
- Always double check on the seller/ website through some online research. It could be useful to check for reviews on some popular platforms (TrustPilot, Yelp, etc.), or simply search up the name of the website + ‘reviews’/’scam’ or other useful keywords.
- Make sure you always use secure payment methods that allow you to get extra customer support. Such payment methods allow you to have an extra pillow of protection in case something goes wrong. When paying online, look for a URL starting with ‘https’ and a closed padlock symbol.
- Try to reach out to the seller, in case there is contact information, and ask additional questions. Do not hesitate to ask for more photos of the item, tracking information, or other kinds of support. However, even if the seller cooperates, you should not be 100% trusting.
- Authenticate the designer items you are planning on buying beforehand. Such services as LegitGrails can help you avoid purchasing a fake item and becoming a victim of an online shopping scam.
Have you been scammed?
In case you were scammed online, you should contact the selling platform first, in case it happened through social media or a reseller platform. If the action happened through a fraudulent website, please contact your bank immediately.
How to get money back after purchasing a fake? The LegitGrails Team can help you with that as well. After your item is confirmed to be a replica, an authenticity certificate will be provided, and our agents can help you with the dispute process.
In some cases, your local police authorities could also help you if you became a victim of an online fraud.