How to Avoid Online Selling Scams This Holiday Season

Months ago, Lami wanted to shop for clothes from her favorite Instagram seller. She had a good customer relationship with the seller for some time and was unsuspecting when the seller contacted her on WhatsApp, explained to her that she could not send her a DM on Instagram, sent her the photos of the clothes she had indicated interest in the comments section, and sent her an account number. It was after she paid that she realized that there was something wrong. After the delivery time had passed and she did not receive her order, she contacted the seller again on WhatsApp but she had been blocked. When she contacted the seller on Instagram, her fears were confirmed: she had been scammed.

Previously, crooks would call you to pretend to be your long lost cousin or uncle living overseas, or call you to tell you about an imaginary job at Shell or Chevron. Today scams are taking a new direction – some in the form of investment scams, online sales scams, business scams. There are plenty of other companies out there promising investors a high return on investment (return on investment) in a very few months. Some up to 50% monthly return on investment. Many “founders” have also been caught or arrested on social media for running away with people’s “investments”.

There are also people on social media who claim to own businesses and sell wares just to scam unsuspecting victims. Reaching customers through WhatsApp isn’t the only way people do it, many of them have social media pages that look legitimate: they have followers; post goods regularly; attaching prizes to them; they take good care of you when you send them a DM but immediately you pay for your items, they block you. Many go so far as to have a website with customer service numbers and email addresses. On their social media pages, they also post receipts from imaginary satisfied customers.

At the end of the year, online shopping is on the rise and scammers are also on the lookout for people to fool. Here are some things you can watch out for:

Are the offers too good to be true?

Do you see ads with 80% off, or do you see your favorite shoe selling for 8,000 naira instead of the usual 35,000 naira? Do you see return tickets to Dubai for 70,000 naira? It might be a scam. If you ever think the offers are too good to be true, they can be. The same goes for investment opportunities. If you are asked to invest in a business with the promise of 50% ROI per month, you may want to check and do your research to make sure you are not the victim of fraud.

Watch your emotions. Yes, you want to buy amazing things at more affordable prices, you want to invest your money, especially for the future. You’ll probably want to check off some items on your bucket list before the New Year. But in your rush to buy items before the end of the year, or at a lower price, beware of online scams and make note of where you buy the items from.

Watch out for red flags

See some amazing deals on Instagram but all post comments are locked? It’s a red flag. Sometimes sellers lock the comment of a particular post because it is mean and hurtful, but if you notice that it is a model, it could mean that the seller does not want people who have already been scammed file complaints in the comments section. . If you also notice a page that has millions or thousands of subscribers but has no comments on all of the posts, hesitate and do enough research before making a purchase; many scammers buy social media pages with many subscribers.

Beware of emails, WhatsApp messages, or websites that contain grammar and spelling mistakes. Brands take great care of their online presentation, then if you see brands / businesses that seemingly don’t care about their looks, grammar, or perception, it’s because they have nothing to lose.

Search the Internet for reviews of companies or suppliers. If you can’t find one, it could be a red flag. To check negative reviews, search for the name of the company / supplier with terms such as “scam” or “complaint”. If you can’t find any negative reviews or complaints, you can be clear. Many businesses post great reviews of so-called happy customers on their social media pages and websites, but don’t be swayed by them; what do others say about them? Don’t hesitate to ask around before making any major purchases.

Do not accept invoices with personal names

If you are buying from a business, make sure the brand / business name is on the invoice. Do not accept invoices with personal names when buying from a company. We understand that small online stores may not yet have a business account, but make sure you have made purchases or already have a relationship with a trusted supplier before making payments. .

When shopping this holiday season, don’t be too quick to pull out your credit card or make that transfer.


Featured Image: Dreamstime

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David A. Albanese