Who doesn’t love a good sale? The downfall to the excitement of getting a great deal is that we become susceptible to scams.
We’ve all been there–clouded judgment, falling for a deal “Too good to be true,” just to realize it is.
If you’re tired of being fooled, the good news is we’ve got your back!
Use this guide with seven foolproof ways to spot a fake and keep your wallet safe.
Whether you’re hunting for your next online discount or coasting the aisles of your favorite store, these tips will ensure a genuine shopping experience.
Be Suspicious of Steep Discounts
As previously mentioned, it probably is if it sounds too good to be true.
When a deal seems outrageously generous, proceed with caution. Scammers love to lure us in with unbeatable prices, so let those steep discounts be a red flag and alert us of inauthenticity.
Make it a habit to compare prices with other reputable stores before pressing that “buy” button.
Remember that while the number of fraud reports recorded through the Federal Trade Commission’s database fell to 2.4 million in 2022 from 2.9 million, the aggregate loss from those instances reached nearly $8.8 billion. That’s up 44% from the $6.1 billion reported in 2021 to the FTC.
Check the Website’s Legitimacy
We are so quick to trust a website with our credit card details. Before doing so, make sure it’s the real deal by:
- Looking for a physical address on the website: A clear location for their operations should be easy to find, adding credibility to the business.
- Verifying the presence of a customer service contact: Authentic websites prioritize customer support, and a phone number or email address should be easy to uncover.
- Reviewing the website’s privacy policies and terms of service: Legitimate sites provide clear information on how they handle your data and transactions.
Watch Out for Overly Generic Emails
Phishing emails are a common tactic for these fake sale scammers.
Be cautious if you receive an email with a generic greeting or misspellings. Legitimate businesses will personalize their communications and address you professionally by name. In 2022, 300,497 phishing attacks were reported to the FBI.
Aside from misspellings and vague greetings, be wary of urgent messages that create a sense of panic.
Cybercriminals love to use this phishing attempt to get you to “Act now.” Don’t fall for these tricks; take time to make the right buying decision.
Research Customer Reviews
We all value our time, and reading customer reviews may seem wasteful, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Researching real experiences from other shoppers can be your best defense against scams.
Discover more details on the purchase and delivery experience. A pattern of negative reviews should have you reconsidering your purchase.
Pay Attention to Payment Methods
Be wary of websites using only one payment method, as these often lack buyer protection.
Legitimate sellers will offer a multitude of secure payment options. Don’t become one of the 43% of eCommerce consumers who have fallen victim to payment fraud.
Protect your financial information by verifying that the website’s payment page is encrypted. You can do this by looking for “https://” in the URL and ensuring a small lock symbol to the left.
Verify Contact Information
Trustworthy sellers are transparent about how to contact them.
A working phone number and email address should be easy to locate. So, if the only means of contact is a web form, proceed with caution again.
Genuine businesses want their customers’ feedback and make it easy to obtain.
Look for Trust Badges and Seals
Authentic businesses often display trust badges and security seals on their websites to reassure customers that they’re buying from a reputable company.
If you still need to learn, these badges are usually clickable. A website without these badges and seals or ones that cannot be clicked on is another red flag.
An added bit of advice while you peruse the internet to find the best possible sales is to keep your activities secure with a VPN. You can even use a VPN Cyber Monday deal to save money while shopping securely.
Utilize these seven tips to equip yourself with the best armor while navigating the sales world.
Shop confidently as you dive into the latest deals and stay one step ahead of scammers. Be on the lookout for suspicious signs and protect your hard-earned money.