The world of online shopping brings everything from antiques to electronics, books and pottery or even stamps right to your fingertips. There is no need to drive to a mall when anything you could ever want is just a click away.
The convenience and ease of online shopping does not come without its risks. There are scams and cons who will try to trick you or steal your identity.
Does the threat of being a victim from a shopping scam online outweigh the benefits so much that you should avoid making purchases online? Certainly not. While the risk is there, there are many tips and steps you can take to protect yourself from falling prey to an online scam.
First of all, if you plan on making a habit of online purchases, you should join a secure online banking site that protects your bank account and credit card information. There are a few universally accepted services that consumers can join for free.
You can also contact your credit card company and ask them if they offer online purchase protection, in the event that your account were compromised. They may offer you a protection identity program for a few extra dollars per month, but if you see yourself frequently using the card online then this could be worth the insurance and peace of mind.
Your credit card company may be obligated to waive an illegitimate charge, but they are less likely to refund money for a product just because it did not live up to all it was cracked up to be. You should educate yourself on how to spot a legitimate seller from an offer that may be out to scam you.
Before you buy in, hook, line and sinker to an offer, picture your mother and hear her voice saying, If it is too good to be true, it probably is. Online shopping scams often offer something for free. Common ploys are free laptops, mp3 players, vacations or more.
When a company is offering something under the guise of Free, there is always a cost to be paid. In most cases, a long survey followed by a requirement of fulfilling 4 or 5 subscriptions must be completed before you receive a free item.
However, Free is not always a dirty word. There are plenty of online shopping sources that offer free shipping specials, free in-store pickup, free accessories or other free perks with an online order.
Online shopping auctions make up for over 30 percent of online consumer complaints. If you are thinking of purchasing an item from an online auction, take a look at the sellers history. Any reputable online auction will provide profile information for every registered buyer and seller. In most cases, previous sellers may rate, rank and comment on a sellers product and service.
If you find a seller offering an item you want, but see that a large number of previous buyers commented on the lengthy delivery process and poor return policy, then you should consider this in your purchase.
Also, if you are buying a collectible item, make sure that the certificate of authenticity is legitimate. If the item is very valuable and the seller is offering it at a very low rate, you may want to contact them and ask if the item is damaged or cannot be authenticated.