Shop smarter: 5 tips on safeguarding your online purchases

Shop smarter: 5 tips on safeguarding your online purchases

Justine M. Raga, CTU-TC Intern / Writer

Online shopping has revolutionized the way people purchase goods and services. With just a few clicks or taps, consumers can browse through a vast array of products and offers from the comfort of their own homes, without the hassle of navigating crowded stores or waiting in long checkout lines. This convenience factor has made online shopping increasingly popular, offering individuals the flexibility to shop at any time of day or night, from virtually anywhere with an internet connection.

Unfortunately, scammers have also improved their tactics in deceiving others — using dishonest or fraudulent methods — for financial gain.

Here are some tips and tricks to stay safe and avoid scams while shopping online:

Research the seller

Prior to completing a purchase, invest some time in researching the seller. Examine their ratings, reviews and feedback provided by other buyers. Avoid purchasing from sellers with limited or no information provided.

When ordering a product from an online shopping store, some may notice some stores with no sales. As shoppers, people tend to prefer ordering from stores with hundreds or thousands of orders already because it indicates the store and product quality. However, some may wonder why these stores have zero sales if they’re genuine. Shoppers must also consider those who are just starting a business. Initially, sales may be low because that’s how everything begins. In this case, shoppers can chat with the store and inquire about the product’s legitimacy. Shoppers can request pictures of the product, the store’s personal information and ask for assurance that their product is authentic. Shoppers can ask them anything to ensure that they are getting the right product at the right price.

Verify product authenticity

Exercise caution when encountering deals that appear too good to be true. Verify the authenticity of the product by checking for trademarks, logos and brand information. Cross-check the price of the item with other reputable sellers to ensure it’s not significantly lower or even higher. If the brand name shows in the search bar and has an official store, better order in that store to ensure legitimacy.

On Shopee, buyers can identify products from Shopee Mall sellers by looking for the Shopee Mall label. If they suspect a product might be fake and it’s not from a Shopee Mall seller, they can check the product reviews to see what other buyers have said. Lazada has a similar feature called Lazmall. On TikTok, buyers can look for a check mark, indicating that the seller is verified. Lastly, it’s important to read the reviews left by other buyers.

Use secure payment methods

Choose secure payment methods, such as credit cards or well-known online payment platforms. Avoid making payments through wire transfers or unconventional methods that lack buyer protection. If the shopper can do COD (cash on delivery), it’s the better and safer choice because the shopper can see the order before paying. The shoppers must film themselves before opening the product. This could serve as evidence if there are any issues with the order, such as incomplete items, missing items or breakage.

Read the fine print

Take the time to read the product description, shipping details and return policy. Look for hidden fees, additional charges or unclear terms and conditions. Beware of counterfeit or replica products that may not meet your expectations.

When buying something online, it’s crucial to do research and read carefully. It’s essential to understand that not all information about a product in their advertisement is accurate. Some advertisers may exaggerate and only highlight the positive aspects of the product to make sales. Therefore, it’s important that the shoppers must research the product to discover both its advantages and disadvantages.

Trust your instincts

If something seems suspicious or too good to be true, rely on your instincts and proceed with caution. Listen to warnings from the online shopping platform or fellow shoppers about potential scams.

When people decide to buy something online, it might be because of someone’s influence, like if they see someone they idolize or a famous person who also has the product they like. However, they shouldn’t base their decision solely on the fact that someone is their idol or famous. It’s important to seek more reviews from other buyers, especially regular buyers. They tend to provide honest feedback compared to famous people who might be paid to give positive reviews.


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