Ecommerce has grown tremendously over the past two decades and online shopping is the norm for many Americans. In 2000, only 1% of retail sales in the US were eCommerce purchases. By 2010, that number was up to 7.2%, and by 2020, eCommerce sales made up 19.6% of retail sales.
With the growth of sites like Amazon, and big names like Walmart and Target adding online stores to their repertoire, shopping online can be both convenient and reliable. However, not every online shopping experience is as foolproof as it you’d hope. Sometimes online stores can leave you with purchases that will never arrive, poor products or worse… your personal information being sold to untrustworthy sites and sources.
How can you tell which sites are legitimate and which ones are scams? Let’s look at some red flags that raise a warning you may be in a scam or phishing site.
No Third Party Payment Options
If you can’t use a payment from PayPal or something similar, and you can only input your credit card information, that’s a red flag. Utilizing a third-party payment system allows you to dispute a purchase if your product never arrives or you have any issues with the purchase. It’s an added layer of protection for your personal information.
A negative review here and there is totally normal and should not be viewed as a red flag… but most online scams will have a trend of numerous negative reviews. Check their social media pages, Yelp, or the Better Business Bureau.
Contact Information is Hidden
If you cannot find contact information for the business on their website, or if it’s a challenge to find it, that’s a red flag to consider. A business not advertising how to reach out to them is a sign that they won’t be willing to help you if there is a problem with your purchase. It may also signal a potential scam.
Too Good To Be True Claims
We are all looking to purchase the best of the best. Fraudulent businesses may try to lure buyers in with false claims that their product can cure disease, solve difficult problems or offer any immediate results. Err on the side of caution. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Online shopping plays a big role in our lives, especially during the holidays. It’s important to be wise and protect your information on the internet. Keep an eye out for red flags before you make your next purchase online.