Ever had to deal with a size misfit, an outward malfunction, or a stain in clothes bought online? Or, perhaps, you ordered beauty products, electronics, or groceries online, and received betrayal in the form of an entirely different delivery? According to the Better Business Bureau's (BBB's) annual scam-tracking report, online buying scams were the biggest type of consumer fraud in 2017. Most cases of scams were on pre-paid orders via credit cards, because once you’ve made a purchase, there’s no turning back. Many sites don’t offer returns, refunds or exchange policies- it’s like throwing money in a well.

The Age Range

An in-depth analysis of online transactions at such websites shows that young adults of about 18-24 years are more vulnerable to being scammed. Young blood gets fired up on the latest trends- mostly because of the social media influencers that over-hype certain brands via digital marketing methods. About 25% of young adults are more susceptible to online buying scams just because they can’t resist the urge to check out- irrespective of the authenticity of the website. This is all the more reason why you should be more cautious while buying products online, and the best way to do that is to read on below. We’ve gathered information from credible online sources and added useful tips from experience for you to implement.

The 5 Red Flags

1.   No Return, Refund, Or Exchange Policies

While shopping online, you must make sure that you have a path to retrace your steps after you make your purchase. No credible website fears to offer refunds or exchanges since they’re confident with the product they’ve manufactured. They make money off the product, not the innocence of the buyer. Always check whether a website offers a money-back guarantee- it may save you from a scam.

2.   The Product Looks Too Good To Be True

If a product looks too good to be believable, chances are that you’re being blinded by a lie. Customers often get convinced that they’ve miraculously stumbled across an amazing, cheap deal- the best deal they could ever come across. All their hopes are shattered when they receive a mediocre product that doesn’t match its photograph or description. Many Wish users have had to experience such disappointment over the years.

3.   A Suspicious Product Listing

Products listed with stock images, photoshopped pictures, and haphazard product description are prone to be a scam. Scammers don’t invest much time in listing products or can not find images that won’t be copyrighted immediately. If you find a product listed with an overly glorified image and a wonky description, please click away.

4.   Zero Past Reviews Or Ratings

The rule that you must implement while shopping online is to never trust your money on a product/service that has no review or rating to credit its authenticity. Scammers cannot allow their customers to raise a voice against them, which is why they may delete the reviews or hide the rating to continue fooling the community. You should know better and avoid them completely.

5.   Credit-card Payments Accepted Only

Cash on delivery options make a website authentic. This is because they have to deal with the risk of not getting paid- you don’t have to deal with the risk of not receiving anything at all. Through credit-card payment options, you spend your money first and receive the goods later, and there’s no turning back once you’re through with the transaction. You are the only one to blame if your transaction was a waste of money.

We’d be thrilled if you would share your insight on online shopping with us. Everyone has their experiences with online shopping, and sharing yours will help the community steer clear of internet betrayal. Also, make sure to check out other websites for more information on the matter. How much have you lost in online shopping sprees? Leave a comment and let us know!