How to Avoid Getting Conned and What to Do If It Happens: My Story (2022)
By: Ashley Lee
I wanted to write this post for you in hopes of deterring you from making the same mistake my associate made.
NOTE: I am no professional at how to handle frauds, but I believe every case is different. Therefore, I am entitled to expressing my story.
By going nameless, I know someone who got scammed recently. They were shopping for some things, and they were being a little too naïve. They had hopes that their order was coming, but little did they know that they had to deal with some consequences.
A week goes by and an doubtful feeling surfaced. They eventually got the sense that maybe their packages aren't coming after all. As a result, they finally did their research and found out that the company they got their merchandise from were frauds. However, they were not fully convinced, because some of the claims from some individuals' testimonies were not credible.
Without fully panicking, they emailed their merchant (without confronting them) requesting them to cancel their order and issue them a full refund. Of course, they knew that the merchant wouldn't respond, so they decided to call their bank before the merchant would use my colleague's data.
Thankfully, the bank was able to make some changes for them before the merchant could make any purchases, but they are still thinking about filing a claim with the bank to dispute the transaction with the merchant.
As of right now, a decision is yet to be made.
Before you buy anything from an online store (whether if it's Amazon, Etsy, etc.), it's important to do your research of the site before making your purchase.
If they have any social media accounts, check to see if they're still active. If they posted content about a year ago, that may be problematic.
If you haven't done so already, check for any reviews left by customers to see what they said. Whether you like it or not, these reviews could help make your decisions. Also, some reviews could tell you if the site is legitimate or not, so please keep that in mind.
If the site has an address, copy and paste it to Google Maps to see where they are actually located. My associate found out that the location to the online site of where they brought their merchandise is actually the address to a help center. It's better safe than sorry.
If the site has a phone number, maybe give it a call to see if the number is also legitimate. If it doesn't, and they have an email address only, then it may or may not be good. The reason I say this is because this may not be a completely bad thing.
Also, if you are checking out of the site and are about to confirm your order, and they ask for additional information like your social security, etc., it's better to erase your information, clear your cart and leave the site. If you need to report the site in case, then I will leave it up to you. You would be saving a lot of people from making the same mistakes many people made.
If you are planning on buying from any site, I would strongly recommend using a credit card. I do not trust debit cards or checks for online purchases. The risks of using your credit card and getting scammed is not as bad (it's still unfortunate) compared to using your debit card or checks, because you could get a new credit card from your bank. Think about it, if you used your debit card or wrote a check and got scammed, you could suffer more damages.
In the event that you find out that you were scammed by the shop, I will echo what everyone has been saying lately- call your bank and inform them of the situation. If you think you've been a victim of fraud but are not sure and decide to wait a little bit to see if the shop will send you your order, well, I wouldn't wait that long. It's better to get this taken care of now than later. Please trust me on this.
And finally, you do not need to follow these tips that I've laid out here. If you have better strategy, then I leave that up to you as well.
Thank you for reading this, and I hope you will shop or continue to shop responsibly.
Cover photo is from Wix.