How To Spot a Scam Online

How To Spot a Scam Online

Since its inception, the World Wide Web has been one of the largest marketplace around the world, with millions of businesses and stores online selling their products and services to customers across the world.

With millions of buyers and customers going online to obtain the goods and services they need, a lot businesses are taking advantage of the online world. But with its popularity, online scams have also been prevalent. Therefore, knowing how to spot a scam online is crucial.

There a lot of different scams online, from shopping to job scams. When it comes to online shopping scam, it involves scammers who pretend to be legitimate sellers, either a fake advertisement on a genuine retailer website or a fake website.

How do Online Scams Work?


There are a lot of sellers online that are legitimate, but the problem is that scammers can use the internet’s anonymous nature to take advantage of unsuspecting consumers. Knowing how to spot a scam online starts with determining how scams work.

  • Fake Websites

Online scammers are using the latest technology to build fake websites that look like genuine stores or companies. To make them look more genuine, they may use sophisticated layouts and designs and even a domain name.

You will often determine whether a website is genuine or a scam on the method of payment. An online scam will usually ask you to pay with the use of a money order, wire transfer or pre-loaded money card. If you send your money through this method, it is unlikely that you will see it again or get your purchased item.

  • Auction Sites

A vast majority of auction sites online have strict policies to make sure that their customers aren’t scammed. However, scammers recognize this, so they’ll usually try getting customers to make a deal outside the auction site. They may claim that the auction winner has pulled out and have the product for sale to you. When the get the money, the auction site won’t be available to assist you and you’ll never hear from them anymore.

Determining a Scam Online


Here are some warning signs that can help you determine a scam online:

  • If a product or an item is advertised at an extraordinarily low price or have unbelievable features and benefits that sound too good to be true, you should start thinking whether to make a purchase or not.
  • They insist payment by a wire service or electronic funds transfer, or immediate payment. The other party may also insist that you pay up-front before accessing cheap deals.
  • A retailer online doesn’t provide sufficient information about contact details, terms and conditions of use, privacy policy or dispute resolution.
  • A third party doesn’t allow payment through a more secure payment service, like a credit card transaction or PayPal.

Protecting Yourself


Do not let scammers take advantage of you or your money, and if you’ve already been scammed, do not the same thing happen to you again.

To protect yourself, you need to check if the website has a return or refund policy or their policies sound fair.

When you use retail sites, know who you’re dealing with. You also need to use a secure payment service when you make any online payments.

Always think twice before you use virtual currencies like bitcoin, as they often don’t have similar protections as other transaction methods.

When purchasing from a classified website online, pay only once you have received the products. If you have any doubts regarding the person selling it or the product itself, do not go ahead with the deal.

The online world has given consumers the convenience of buying products from the comfort of their home. But, to take advantage of your money and for your safety, it is very important to know how to spot a scam online.

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