How to avoid scam in online shopping?

In the modern world, thanks to the Internet, our life has changed. People exchange information, communicate, pay for services and loans online. Now, in many cases, you do not need to go to the store for another purchase, because there are online stores that are designed to ensure the speed and convenience of shopping. Online, with a full prepayment by card, they began to sell even new cars.

How to avoid scam in online shopping?

A variety of online stores provide customers with the widest opportunities to enrich their user experience and make profitable purchases:

  • online platforms usually have a wider range of products compared to traditional retail outlets and you can easily find famous brands like wade logan;
  • the buyer has the opportunity to get acquainted with the assortment and prices of several stores at once, and thus greatly saves time. No need to go to shopping centers in search of the right product at a good price;
  • in addition to the variety of goods themselves, online stores provide various payment options and ways to receive an order. It’s convenient to receive the order at home and pay in cash - no problem! If you want to receive goods at work and pay for the order with a plastic card - there are no obstacles either!
  • courier delivery of goods to the address eliminates the inconvenience of self-transportation of heavy, bulky or fragile purchases;
  • finally, in the fight for a buyer, online stores offer many additional services: calling a courier to arrange a return, discounts on next purchases, coupons, promotional codes, and much more.

However, you shouldn’t always trust the online store. Let's take a look at a few tell-tale signs that can help you decide whether to trust an online store and make sure that it’s not a scam.

1. Details of the organization

The first thing you should pay attention to is the seller's contacts and details that are easily found and available on the site. The full name of the organization, e-mail address and phone number of the seller must be indicated. A serious online store publishes terms of work, in which the order of placing an order, delivery and payment options, a list of actions in cases when the buyer is not satisfied with the quality of the product or service are indicated in a language understandable to the buyer.

2. Contact phone is available to everyone

If a phone number is provided, then you can and should call. And if you can get through, then you should talk. An open dialogue is already one of the confirmations of the trustworthiness of the seller. If the operator is always ready to answer the call, advise the buyer about the goods, take an order by phone, then this indicates that the online store is focused on the quality of service and that a human being is behind the online platform.

3. Quick email response

This is also a sign of the online store's interest in its customers, the willingness to help with the choice. If the answer comes at least within a couple of hours, then the store is ready to work with each customer individually and not be inferior in this to the traditional retail outlet.

4. Website design

Based on how the site is designed, you can really understand how professional the organization is in its field and how much it invests in its resource. A high-quality website requires work, investment and constant technological development. A self-respecting online store will provide a detailed description of each item in the catalog, allow the buyer to visually present the product, providing each product with a beautiful and clear image. If everything looks logical, prestigious, and without blunders in grammar and visual design, this indicates the longevity of the Internet site, and hence the intentions of its founders, who are primarily interested in the fact that you, as a buyer, would return to the store again. The website of an online store is really its face.

Ladies on a laptop

5. A separate site, not an aggregator site

Along with online stores, the network contains mass offers of goods through groups on social networks or on ad aggregator sites. Initially, such resources were created for the one-time sale of unnecessary or used items. But later they became channels for regular trades. Cases when, according to the ad “worn jackets from Italy”, you can buy a completely new thing, and more than one, even a small wholesale batch, are not uncommon.

In this case, the price list is sent to the buyer by e-mail, the seller offers to look at the photos of the goods “by typing a specific request in the search engine,” there is no opportunity to familiarize yourself with the goods before prepayment (if required). The risks here are much greater than the benefits of the supposedly low price. In most cases, such a seller is not registered as a legal entity, which means that they aren’t responsible for the sale (delivery guarantee, service guarantee, correctly executed documents confirming the purchase - all this, most likely, will simply not happen). Money is transferred to an individual on a bank card, no one gives a guarantee that the goods will arrive.

It would be safe for the buyer here to treat the offer on the aggregator platform solely as a private announcement, insist on a meeting with the seller for a preliminary inspection of the goods and pay in cash upon receipt.

6. A reliable store does not oblige to purchase a product and does not impose it

You should not trust the information that says that you need to purchase the goods right now, and even at a discount. A regular online store is unlikely to become too intrusive to offer a product, and even more so, to force you to purchase it urgently. As well as in offline trading, of course, bonus programs, promotions and discounts are appropriate on the Internet. However, the wide possibilities of online channels for the prompt delivery of information about a profitable offer become a temptation to shorten the periods of action of the promotions themselves and a way of putting pressure on the buyer.

7. No negative reviews

Here we are not talking about “managed” reviews published by the seller on their website, and not about reviews directly about the purchased product. Remember: if there were enough customers dissatisfied with the store’s service, negative reviews on social networks and on thematic forums that are not under the control of the seller would definitely appear. All such reviews on third-party sites are well available to search engines, and therefore to potential buyers.

But good reviews about online sites are rarely written. This is due to the fact that high-quality service for a person, when it has already happened, is perceived in a natural, organic way (“it should be so”) and, unlike the negative, is not a motivator to spend time compiling and publishing a text.

8. Complete security and convenience when paying

A reliable store that you can trust will definitely indicate the methods of payment and delivery. Many online stores deliver goods directly to your home, payment is made on the spot. Reliable online stores inform their customers about the status of the order by phone, SMS, or send information to an email address. The ability to pay for an order with a plastic card on the website is an indicator that the company has a transparent current account and the absence of questions from regulatory authorities.

If all of the above signs are checked for an online store, the risk of disappointment, and even more so, loss of money and time is minimal. Good luck with your shopping experience!

Check the comment section below for additional information, share what you know, or ask a question about this article by leaving a comment below. And, to quickly find answers to your questions, use our search Search engine.

Note: Some of the information in samples on this website may have been impersonated or spoofed.

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Online Threat Alerts Security Tips

Pay the safest way

Credit cards are the safest way to pay for online purchases because you can dispute the charges if you never get the goods or services or if the offer was misrepresented. Federal law limits your liability to $50 if someone makes unauthorized charges to your account, and most credit card issuers will remove them completely if you report the problem promptly.

Guard your personal information

In any transaction you conduct, make sure to check with your state or local consumer protection agency and the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to see if the seller, charity, company, or organization is credible. Be especially wary if the entity is unfamiliar to you. Always call the number found on a website’s contact information to make sure the number legitimately belongs to the entity you are dealing with.

Be careful of the information you share

Never give out your codes, passwords or personal information, unless you are sure of who you're dealing with

Know who you’re dealing with

Crooks pretending to be from companies you do business with may call or send an email, claiming they need to verify your personal information. Don’t provide your credit card or bank account number unless you are actually paying for something and know who you are sending payment to. Your social security number should not be necessary unless you are applying for credit. Be especially suspicious if someone claiming to be from a company with whom you have an account asks for information that the business already has.

Check your accounts

Regularly check your account transactions and report any suspicious or unauthorised transactions.

Don’t believe promises of easy money

If someone claims that you can earn money with little or no work, get a loan or credit card even if you have bad credit, or make money on an investment with little or no risk, it’s probably a scam. Oftentimes, offers that seem too good to be true, actually are too good to be true.

Do not open email from people you don’t know

If you are unsure whether an email you received is legitimate, try contacting the sender directly via other means. Do not click on any links in an email unless you are sure it is safe.

Think before you click

If an email or text message looks suspicious, don’t open any attachments or click on the links.

Verify urgent requests or unsolicited emails, messages or phone calls before you respond

If you receive a message or a phone call asking for immediate action and don't know the sender, it could be a phishing message.

Be careful with links and new website addresses

Malicious website addresses may appear almost identical to legitimate sites. Scammers often use a slight variation in spelling or logo to lure you. Malicious links can also come from friends whose email has unknowingly been compromised, so be careful.

Secure your personal information

Before providing any personal information, such as your date of birth, Social Security number, account numbers, and passwords, be sure the website is secure.

Stay informed on the latest cyber threats

Keep yourself up to date on current scams by visiting this website daily.

Use Strong Passwords

Strong passwords are critical to online security.

Keep your software up to date and maintain preventative software programs

Keep all of your software applications up to date on your computers and mobile devices. Install software that provides antivirus, firewall, and email filter services.

Update the operating systems on your electronic devices

Make sure your operating systems (OSs) and applications are up to date on all of your electronic devices. Older and unpatched versions of OSs and software are the target of many hacks. Read the CISA security tip on Understanding Patches and Software Updates for more information.

What if You Got Scammed?

Stop Contact With The Scammer

Hang up the phone. Do not reply to emails, messages, or letters that the scammer sends. Do not make any more payments to the scammer. Beware of additional scammers who may contact you claiming they can help you get your lost money back.

Secure Your Finances

  • Report potentially compromised bank account, credit or debit card information to your financial institution(s) immediately. They may be able to cancel or reverse fraudulent transactions.
  • Notify the three major credit bureaus. They can add a fraud alert to warn potential credit grantors that you may be a victim of identity theft. You may also want to consider placing a free security freeze on your credit report. Doing so prevents lenders and others from accessing your credit report entirely, which will prevent them from extending credit:

Check Your Computer

If your computer was accessed or otherwise affected by a scam, check to make sure that your anti-virus is up-to-date and running and that your system is free of malware and keylogging software. You may also need to seek the help of a computer repair company. Consider utilizing the Better Business Bureau’s website to find a reputable company.

Change Your Account Passwords

Update your bank, credit card, social media, and email account passwords to try to limit further unauthorized access. Make sure to choose strong passwords when changing account passwords.

Report The Scam

Reporting helps protect others. While agencies can’t always track down perpetrators of crimes against scammers, they can utilize the information gathered to record patterns of abuse which may lead to action being taken against a company or industry.

Report your issue to the following agencies based on the nature of the scam:

  • Local Law Enforcement: Consumers are encouraged to report scams to their local police department or sheriff’s office, especially if you lost money or property or had your identity compromised.
  • Federal Trade Commission: Contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357) or use the Online Complaint Assistant to report various types of fraud, including counterfeit checks, lottery or sweepstakes scams, and more.
  • If someone is using your personal information, like your Social Security, credit card, or bank account number, to open new accounts, make purchases, or get a tax refund, report it at This federal government site will also help you create your Identity Theft Report and a personal recovery plan based on your situation. Questions can be directed to 877-ID THEFT.

How To Recognize a Phishing Scam

Scammers use email or text messages to try to steal your passwords, account numbers, or Social Security numbers. If they get that information, they could get access to your email, bank, or other accounts. Or they could sell your information to other scammers. Scammers launch thousands of phishing attacks like these every day — and they’re often successful.

Scammers often update their tactics to keep up with the latest news or trends, but here are some common tactics used in phishing emails or text messages:

Phishing emails and text messages often tell a story to trick you into clicking on a link or opening an attachment. You might get an unexpected email or text message that looks like it’s from a company you know or trust, like a bank or a credit card or utility company. Or maybe it’s from an online payment website or app. The message could be from a scammer, who might

  • say they’ve noticed some suspicious activity or log-in attempts — they haven’t
  • claim there’s a problem with your account or your payment information — there isn’t
  • say you need to confirm some personal or financial information — you don’t
  • include an invoice you don’t recognize — it’s fake
  • want you to click on a link to make a payment — but the link has malware
  • say you’re eligible to register for a government refund — it’s a scam
  • offer a coupon for free stuff — it’s not real

About Online Threat Alerts (OTA)

Online Threat Alerts or OTA is an anti-cybercrime community that started in 2012. OTA alerts the public to cyber crimes and other web threats.

By alerting the public, we have prevented a lot of online users from getting scammed or becoming victims of cybercrimes.

With the ever-increasing number of people going online, it important to have a community like OTA that continuously alerts or protects those same people from cyber-criminals, scammers and hackers, who are every day finding new ways of carrying out their malicious activities.

Online users can help by reporting suspicious or malicious messages or websites to OTA. And, if they want to determine if a message or website is a threat or scam, they can use OTA's search engine to search for the website or parts of the message for information.

Help maintain Online Threat Alerts (OTA).

How to avoid scam in online shopping?