Security Corner

Jul 31 2010   12:56PM GMT

How to Avoid Online Shopping Scams – Part 2

Ken Harthun Ken Harthun Profile: Ken Harthun

[Part 1 covered five ways to avoid online shopping scams. This second, and final, installment covers the remaining five. Again, this is a heavily-edited article whose original version is posted at http://www.tomtop.com/blog/antiscam/. I had to edit the article heavily because its English is quite fractured. In that source posting, there appears to be tacit consent to reprinting with attribution. The writer(s) posted this in the comments section of "How to Recognize and Avoid Email Scams - Part 3," but it's worthy of a post of its own.]

6. Check whether the merchant supports Business Bank Account payment–A company running a trustworthy shopping site will be a legitimate business and  will have a business bank account.  When you do a large wholesale business involving in large orders, there should be some option to make direct payment  to the company bank account.

7. Check whether they have a customer support or feedback forum–Customer comments, views and experiences of using the product will help future customers to make a buying decision. An honest business will allow customers to write product reviews, forum, blog, and third-party social networks (facebook, twitter, YouTube) comments to express their views and opinions. It’s a good bet that if there is no provision for customer feedback at an online store, there’s something wrong. Steer clear.

8. Check whether the site is professionally designed–Details often determine success or failure. Professional B2C sites must  pay close attention to details. The site will often provide coupons, an affiliate program, help before ordering , post-sale assistance and many other services. The site will also provide detailed company information and a clear return policy. Scam sites usually will not waste time on these details; of, if they appear to provide these things, they often won’t work properly.

9. Check whether they support face to face transactions–Does the company have a valid physical location? Can you actually visit their storefront and buy from them? This is essential when you are dealing in large transactions. If you cannot locate the business and have no way of meeting a real person face to face, then be careful.

10. Practice is the sole criterion for testing truth–If all of above are not sufficient to judge whether the business is a cheater or not, you can place a small order to test. Even if they are scamming, the loss willl not big. In fact, the scams will often ignore your small orders and directly refund or ask you to add more.

In general, Online shopping has brought us convenience and many other advantages. In the main, most online businesses are honest. For those who aren’t, if you keep in mind the 10 things here, you will be able to spot the scammers before they get your money.

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