Guide to Online Shopping Scams

Author: PeopleFinders on April 10th, 2019
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In the modern world, most people shop online regularly. Online, you can buy books, concert and movie tickets, clothes, personal items, and even groceries! However, because online services are so easy to create, they also lead to a lot of scams.

Check out this list of common scams on well-known platforms, so you can be prepared the next time you go to shop.

Craigslist Scams

Craigslist is one of the most popular places for scammers to congregate. Because Craigslist doesn’t provide much oversight or guarantees for transactions, the scammers can contact you directly, scam you out of your money, and get away without a trace.

The good news is that Craigslist is aware of this, and it actually publishes a guide to avoiding scams on its website. Spot a Craigslist scammer by noticing these tricks:

Asking for a wire transfer as payment: This is almost always a scam, no matter whom you’re talking to. Few legitimate companies require a wire transfer as payment.

Overpaying, and then asking for the difference: The scammer will send you a fake check for much more than is necessary, and then ask you to wire the remaining money. The check won’t clear, but the wire transfer will, leaving you out of luck.

Requesting personal information on a check: Don’t give anyone access to your bank account information, even if he or she is offering to put money into your account.

Amazon Scams

Amazon has over 300 million regular customers. For most of those customers, everything runs smoothly. However, some customers are taken in by third-party sellers that never actually deliver the product.

Keep these tactics in mind when you’re trying to determine whether a seller is actually a scammer:

Incredibly low prices: Many people go to Amazon to get a good deal. However, remember that if a price seems too good to be true, it probably is.

No reviews: Lots of negative reviews are a dead giveaway, and often lead to accounts being suspended. To get around this, sellers will create new accounts with no reviews. For what reviews that do exist, make sure that they include a “Verified Purchase” tag. That way, you know an actual customer reviewed the product, and not the seller or robot accounts.

Trying to contact you outside of Amazon: Any communication with the seller should be through Amazon. It allows the site to keep track of anything you’ve tried to do to make things right.

Venmo/Cash App

avoiding Venmo payment scams

As digital money becomes the new norm, more and more people have taken to paying their friends back using peer-to-peer payment apps. However, the ease of payment also makes it easier to scam people out of their money.

If you’re going to send or receive money through Venmo, Cash App, or any other payment platform, keep an eye out for these red flags:

Unauthorized merchants asking you to pay through Venmo or Cash App: These apps are meant specifically for peer-to-peer payments, not for payments to businesses. If you’re scammed when paying for a transaction, your purchase isn’t covered under the companies’ terms of service.

Buyers asking for immediate shipment: When someone pays using these apps, that payment usually doesn’t go through for a few days. If shipping goods to someone you don’t know, it’s a good idea to institute a mandatory waiting period.

Emails claiming to be from Venmo or Cash App: Sure, it’s important to stay up-to-date on your account. However, emails are a common phishing tactic. So it’s always important to check the sender’s email address and any links you click, to ensure that it’s the actual company contacting you.

Avoiding Scams Every Day

spotting and dodging online scamsThe aforementioned are some of the most common avenues for scams, but they’re certainly not the only ones. In general, it’s a good idea to do some research on every company you buy from.

Try Googling the company name and the word “scam,” or looking at buyer reviews. This will help you protect your credit card information when you buy online.

For peer-to-peer transactions in particular, it can be more difficult to ensure that you’re spending your money safely. One of the easiest ways to make sure you’re dealing with a real person is by using a public records site like PeopleFinders.

Once you have the other person’s name, you can perform an online public records search. After confirming their identity, the possible discovery of any bankruptcies, liens or criminal records could help you decide whether or not you should be worried about your money or your safety.

Buying and selling online isn’t that difficult, as long as you perform some due diligence first. When it comes to the latter, PeopleFinders is always available to try and make things a little easier.

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Categorized in: Scams