Check out these scams before checking out

Today, it almost feels like the online shopping world has been carefully curated for each of us. And in some way, it’s true. Advertisers and social media platforms know so much about us, that it feels like they’re sometimes listening in.

While online shopping is fun, easy, and super accessible, in the last few years, there’s been a huge amount of fake retail websites that offer products that look enviably good and offering them at suspiciously cheap prices. Scammers love the ease of online shopping too, and they’re willing to go to great lengths to get you to checkout.

Online stores

Shopping online is fun, especially when you can do it at home on the couch! It’s important to understand the difference between a legitimate shopping experience, and one designed to scam you out of your money.

Here are a few tips:

  • Check the web address for the store – e.g.: Lego’s URL includes
  • Make sure the store has a refund policy.
  • Be wary if the store doesn’t have an easily read physical street address.
  • Check the store website is secure – it’s web address needs to start with “https” and the site should have a closed padlock symbol in the URL bar.
  • Never send money or give credit card details to anyone you don’t trust, including the websites you browse.
  • Be wary of online ads that offer huge discounts for popular brands. They often send a very poor-quality version of the item you’ve been coveting.

Online marketplaces

Facebook Marketplace has boomed in popularity. And Gumtree continues to host a wonderful array of second-hand items you can get your hands on at low prices. Make sure you’re being vigilant when buying from one of these online marketplaces.

Here are some tips:

  • When buying on Gumtree or Facebook, use a secure online payment facility like PayPal, rather than cash or direct deposit.
  • If meeting a buyer/seller in person, choose a public spot that is well-lit, and take someone with you.
  • Don’t pay for an item upfront via direct deposit or wire transfer.

Online shopping is a great experience for most of us but stay aware of the hidden scams so you can ensure your items always arrive, as described. Enjoy the bargain hunting!



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