One of the indisputable perks of the internet is online shopping. At least 70% of the US population would agree, since that is how many of them bought a product, or payed for a service, online. Alas, the internet is teeming with baits waiting for unassuming shoppers. The digital environment has become a tricky place, where 14.5 billion spam messages bombard users every day. On the brighter note, there are visible signs that can help you unravel these omnipresent nuisances.
So let’s explore the most common scams and frauds that are waiting for us online.
Money on their mind
First of all, a bulk of swindlers aspires to win customers over with unethical marketing techniques. A great number of marketing agencies makes a living out of selling user information. They present multiple offers and promise great rewards for them. The visitors are encouraged to register, yet there is limited information about the website’s owner personal information, including the actual location and phone number.
On the other hand, proper websites are owned by actual companies. They can be easily contacted via the website, and they also make company background information and a list of clients transparently present on their website. Furthermore, credible enterprises tend to display comprehensive privacy policies and usage terms. Vital information is spelled-out, especially the exact price you are supposed to pay. Finally, if you have any doubts, contact the customer care service. They should be able to respond to your inquiries in a timely manner.
Asleep at the wheel
Nothing screams hoax like unbelievable claims do. If you are introduced to free vacations, products, and large sums of cash – then the situation is pretty clear. You have come in contact with not-overly-subtle wheeler-dealers. Such websites are filled with incorrect information or even some unrelated pictures. Add to that the obscure name, promises of making $1000 per day, and suspicious credentials, and you got yourself a website to avoid.
Yet, things are not always as plain. Some e-commerce websites simply conceal shipping and handling fees, making you end up paying more than predicted. Others feature prices that are considerably lower than the competition’s, which should always raise concern. Furthermore, although most companies send confirmation emails, bear in mind that 73% of total email traffic on the internet is spam. Tricksters tend to misuse logos and names of big corporations, and utilize emails as primary hacking tools.
Look a Gift Horse in the Mouth
Another problem is that there are many fake vouchers and gift cards floating around, and crooks are on the hunt for your credit card and other personal information. Notice that the aforementioned marketing companies are particularly inclined to run pseudo survey websites. They lure people with $75 per survey, which is unrealistic. Thus, it is advisable to try and pick a visa gift card promotion from reputable sources, and double-check expounded information before accepting the terms of the survey.
The real surveys are conducted by authentic companies, which usually use gathered data for research purposes. Credit card information is usually not requested, and panelist is not asked to sign up to additional surveys and offers or anything. The rewards are fair and believable, and it is easy to determine what is in it for the surveyor’s and how they earn money— independently of or dependent on your wallet. If the former is the case, then it is the last proof you need to lay trust in a surveyor.
Stay on the Safe Side
Strive to steer clear of too-good-to-be-true offers, and spend your time and money on reputable websites. Outrageous incentives for signing up, doing a survey or subscribing should be the reason enough to run away from the offer. Always do a quick research about the website owner and see whether you can research the policies. Remember that this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to manipulations, and I hope you never get to see its bottom.