Avoid scams while shopping online

Sometimes we find a deal that just looks way too good to be true and we get fleeced. Even the most savvy of internet users have fallen for something like this in the past and when you’re obsessed with finding a bargain, it’s all too easy to do.

I’m currently in the market for a new long camera lens and I want to take a step up from my last, which means spending hundreds of pounds. If I can save some money somewhere along the line, I will. But as I was searching for a lens as a few places were coming up £100 cheaper than Amazon I wondered if the saving was worth the potential hassle. What if the lens didn’t turn up and I’d have to go through a lengthy refund process? What if they just took my money and ran?

I’ve been thinking a lot about this and just wanted to share my process with you to help you avoid scams.

Check the reviews

Using a site such as BritainReviews is a great way to see what other shoppers think of the company you’re considering buying from. Be very wary if a company has more bad reviews than good but don’t just look at the ratings, read the reviews too. See what other problems (or joys!) others have had before you make your decision.

If it’s too good to be true…

It probably is. If you feel like you’re getting the best bargain in the world, or a company is promising to send you something for free (you only pay postage!), it’s probably a scam. Use your common sense.

Make sure the site is secure

When you’re on a website, about to pay, make sure the site has a valid SSL certificate. You can tell if it has by the little padlock symbol next to your URL bar. If you don’t see this, your payment details are not safe.

Get a second opinion

If you’re unsure about an email, website or text message that asks you for money, ask a friend for a second opinion. The promise of a bargain can often cloud our judgement so it’s wise to ask a friend to be the voice of reason.

Go for a reputable seller

If you’ve had a good experience with a seller in the past, it’s worth going back to them. This might not be the cheapest way to get what you want but it might be the most sensible.

Shop local

Step away from the computer and get out to your local high street. You’re going to pay more in a physical shop than you will online but you’ll benefit from the advice and expertise of staff, will be supporting the local economy and you can take your purchases away with you on the day!

Have you ever been caught out online?

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