How to avoid scams when buying online?

Avoiding scams is hard. Every single we day we hear about people who have been swindled out of money or the item they're selling. 

This blog post focus on the danger of buying online and how to minimize that risk. Focusing on the scams that we see the most of.

Types of scam

1) Bait and switch 

2) Increasing prices or charges 

3) The never arriving item

The bait and switch 

This scam revolves around offering a cool item at a good price and taking advantage of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out).

What happens is the buyer makes a purchase and receives something completely different of poor quality. 

It relies on the scammer having a secure payment method like wire transfer, bank transfer or cash. 

The defence is to always use a payment method that has buyer protection; 

Credit Card


eBay's money back guarantee 

Are the main ones. Be cautious if a seller won't accept a method that offers you protection.

Where possible use an escrow (money is held by a third party until the transaction is complete) or inspect the item in person before paying. 

Increasing price or charges 

This scam is where the item is for sale you enter into dialogue and find that you need to pay for insurance or extra for delivery or the item cost goes up and up. Again this scam relies on FOMO and the buyer being so committed that the seller can get more and more out of you. 

The defence to this is to remember if it sounds too good to be true it usually is. Set a budget for the item and if the deal doesn't stack, move on. There will always be another one.

The never arriving item

This is the easiest scam to execute and the easiest to fall for. The deal looks good, the seller seems genuine, you make the payment and wait... and wait... and wait some more.

The excuses come, but the item never does. You've been had. 

The defence is to always use a payment method that gives you protections, no ifs no buts, this protects you. 

Tips and Reminders

  1.  Always use a secure method of payment
  2. Vet your seller 
  3. Ask for references 
  4. Check references ( no point asking if you aren't going to check)
  5. Reverse image search the pictures of the item and see if they appear anywhere. 
  6. Remember if it sounds to good to be true it usually is. 

Stay safe and happy shopping

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