M4S 081: Safe Online Shopping Tips to Avoid Scams

Learn important tips to avoid online shopping scams
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Learn important tips to avoid online shopping scams

These safe online shopping tips can help you to avoid scams. Online shopping frauds are becoming more and more common. Imagine how you’d feel if you bought something on the internet, only to find out after forking over your hard-earned money that the whole thing was a scam? I know I’d be steamed!

Safe Online Shopping Tips

It’s highly likely that some of you reading this article about safe online shopping tips, despite your best efforts, have been scammed when making purchases through the Internet. (That may even be what brought you to the article in the first place.)

I personally was scammed when buying a ticket to the Super Bowl in 2011. Fortunately, I had precautions in place and, other than the headache of the situation, ended up doing well. Unfortunately, though, I am the exception to the rule, and many people are taken advantage of through online scams.

These safe online shopping tips are strategies and tactics we can use when purchasing through the internet.

Make the Seller Prove They Are Legit

Making the seller of an item prove they are legitimate isn’t foolproof. However, it can help chase off some scammers while providing you with information to help with your decision to buy.

I didn’t come up with this on my own. Instead, I saw it discussed in a Facebook group after a member had someone try to sell him an expensive knife. Here’s what happened.

The buyer is in a Facebook group where people trade and sell things. Well, in this case, the buyer was interested in a great but pricey knife. Luckily for him, there was a dude in the Facebook group selling one he liked. So, the buyer and seller/scammer went back and forth about the knife.

Eventually, they decided to make the deal. However, to confirm everything was legit, the buyer asked the seller to send him a picture holding the knife while also making a “V” for victory sign with his fingers. Well, maybe he’s more of a hippy and was asking him to make a peace sign.


Anyhow, the scammer sent a pic or video; I can’t remember which, showing a guy holding the knife but NOT making the hand gesture as requested by the buyer. Instead, he tried to play it off. But our intelligent buyer did a little research and was able to find the same picture/video on a knife dealer’s website. The only problem for the “seller” is that the dude in the picture on the site is the same dude in the photo that was sent to the buyer as his proof that it is a real deal.

Well, when the buyer confronted Mr. Jackwagon about the photo he sent being one pulled off a knife dealer’s site, the scammer’s hopes went up in smoke.

So, the moral of this story is this.

Don’t take things for granted. Be cautious when purchasing stuff off the internet. When you do, think outside of the box when coming up with ways to throw a monkey wrench into scammers’ plans.

Situational awareness can help prevent online shopping scams

Do Your Research

Make sure you research the person or company you are considering purchasing from. Scammers usually don’t include their personal information, such as a phone number, street address, or email address. After all, it makes it easier to find if they do.

Therefore, when working with a person or company that you aren’t familiar with, check them out. If you do get any contact info, look it up on the computer. When you do, if you notice anything that looks suspicious or gets your spidey sense pinging, consider finding another dealer for your purchase.

Maintain Your Situational Awareness

One of the most important safe online shopping tips is to stay informed about the types of scams out there. This is just another form of situational awareness. The fact is, scammers are continually thinking of ways to part you from your money. Because of that, they’re likely to target people who may not have a clue about the latest and greatest tactics that our scamming scumbag learned during his last visit to jail.

You can pick up on the latest and greatest in scams through local media or watching the news. It’s good to remember that scammers don’t care about the situation you’re in. Actually, they hope you’re stressed and looking for a magic bullet. Then they will use that to need to scam you. So, if disaster strikes, exercise even more caution. Scammers target people desperate for help to worm their way in and steal them blind.

Buy From Reputable Sources

Sure, most of us are price-driven. However, don’t let your search for a lower price lower your IQ when making a purchase. Stick with reputable and established businesses that have a solid track record of delivering on their promises.

Look at it this way. When you’re surfing and buying online, act like you’re shopping in person. In other words, would you go to a shady side of town to buy something out of the trunk of a car in an alley? I doubt most of you would. Instead, you’ll probably go to a local mall or another store with lots of foot traffic and a good reputation.

Treat your online buying like a purchase made in person. Stick with what you know and only gingerly expand and test other sources when the time is right, and the downside of a loss won’t crush you.

The Bottom Line on Safe Online Shopping Tips

As the economy worsens, people’s personal finances are being destroyed. This can lead folks to take desperate measures to try and get some extra money. It’s generally true that when more people are struggling, more people are scamming. Don’t let their hard times make you a victim.

Today’s quote is by the famous con artist, Frank Abagnale, who stated:

“One of the most popular scams is what they call account takeover. You write me a check, and I simply go online to a check-printing service and order 200 checks with your account information.”

Well, there’s another tip for you. Watch out how and who you pay for things you buy online.

Have you ever been taken in by a scam? Has someone you know? Do you have some hard-earned lessons you can turn into safe online shopping tips? Please leave a comment below.

Stay safe,

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