In today’s society, anyone can create a website and sell products online. It’s turned into a fairly simple process – so much so, that more and more spammers find their way into the e-commerce world – and your computing device – every day. If you aren’t careful, you’ll really end up paying for it later.
Using security software – e.g. SearchLock – to protect your online activities and detect problem websites can help, but with so many misleading information (such as SearchLock that is accused as being malware) it’s not an easy task for you to decide.
Here are some tips for avoiding illegitimate online sellers:
Before you even consider pressing “Add To Cart” it’s important to look at the quality and design of the website. Are product categories scattered everywhere? Was the site last updated in 2007? How about spelling errors? Does the URL end in “.tk” instead of “.com”?
These are all huge reasons to leave a site – and although your payment may be accepted, you might never receive your purchase. But – don’t take a store to be illegitimate based on weak design alone. Some good sellers may be in the process of a site redesign. It happens, just proceed with caution. If something seems really fishy though, it probably is.
Next, look at the price you’re about to pay. If you’re paying $300 less for a new iPhone than everyone else, you’re getting scammed. Sure – certain sites will have sales on certain products, but you’ll rarely see a product’s price fall too far below what most sites on the web are charging. Avoid “free” products that need your credit card information to get. Those are a recipe for disaster.
When you’ve decided that the site is visually decent, and the price of your product seems about right, look for contact information of the business. Usually a phone number isn’t enough. Ever seen those sites with no street address, but they have a 1-800 number and a stock photo of a person with a headset on? Avoid! – unless you can find a physical business address.
Then, look for logos on the bottom of the site – such as BBB (Better Business Bureau) or Reseller Ratings. If a site is advertising these companies, it should mean they have good reviews with each company. Just double check for yourself, and use other resources as well. Google the company’s name, and see what real people are saying about it.
By following this guide, you’ll be well on your way to making safer, legitimate online purchases. If you order from sites that don’t fit with this guide, you may still receive your order – but you’re at a greater risk for online safety and poor customer service.
Internet Scam Photo via Shutterstock