How Do You Know An Online Seller Is Legit? 5 Things To Check
Beware of cyber scammers! Here’s how to have a safer online shopping experience.
While online shopping has been convenient and beneficial to many, there have also been not a few instances of unscrupulous individuals taking advantage of the platform and deliberately scamming people of money.
Just a few days ago, celebrity chef Rosebud Benitez posted on Facebook that someone tricked her into buying food under the guise of helping a cause, only to find out that it was all a sham. Part of her post reads:
“Fast forward to last Wednesday, humihingi siya ng tulong ulit kahit na P600 lang daw or even canned goods para pangtawid lang daw ng pamilya niya bago siya mamasukan ngayong January 21. Sabi ko ay di na ako nagpapahiram sa mga di ko kakilala (kasi madami ang nag take advantage at paulit ulit na humihingi..) I asked her kung di na ba siya nagbenta ng food at sabi niya ay di daw siya tumigil mag-alok kaso wala daw talagang bumibili ng pagkain. So sabi ko sa kanya, imbes manghingi ka, bibili na lang ako ng pagkain sayo. Dinamihan ko pa nga kasi iniisip ko para malaki kahit papano ang kita niya.
“Umabot ng P2,460 ang bill ko na pinadala ko sa GCash account na binigay niya. Usapan namin ay Thursday lunch niya ipapadala. So come Thursday, di na ako nagpaluto ng pagkain kasi nga hinihintay ko ang delivery niya. Pero, walang dumating. At yung binigay niya na GCash account, di rin sinasagot mga tawag namin. Di na rin siya nag reply sa mga messages ko sa IG. In short, niloko ako.”
Although the matter has been cleared up as of this writing (it turns out the person in question is no longer affiliated with the online food seller), it reminds us yet again to be more vigilant and discerning in our online transactions.
Are you a frequent online buyer? For a safer shopping experience, here are some tips to keep in mind:
Look into the seller’s rates and reviews.
Jaymee Javier is a frequent online shopper and she absolutely loves how convenient it is. She also feels safer buying her needs online. “We may not see the items personally, but it is better than risking our own health,” she says.
Jaymee is thankful that she has never encountered a fake online seller so far, but she understands why many are still skeptical.
“It is normal to hesitate because there is a small risk in purchasing online. The rates and reviews are the best way to know if the seller is legit.” These reviews could either get them new customers or cause them to lose potential buyers, she adds.
“Do not purchase from stores that have 0-2 stars on their product review. Instead, find a similar product from a different shop [that has been given] good feedback. Ratings from 4-5 means buyers are satisfied. Some [customers] even leave positive [comments] like ‘I will order again’, ‘good quality’, etc.,” she adds.
Check the number of items sold.
“Items [sold online] are [mostly] cheaper than those you can find in a physical store,” shares Yl, a certified online shopper since 2018. From accessories, to desktop organizers, and even her swivel chair, she shops online more than five times each month.
Her tip, aside from checking a seller’s reviews: “Before you buy a product, check how many items [have been] sold by the shop. In my case, if I don’t see anything, I don’t usually buy from that shop. I also chat [with] the seller to ask more information about a product. It’s my way of finding out whether the shop is legit or not.”
Opt for Cash on Delivery (COD), and go for meetups.
Clothes are Jenelly’s frequent purchases online, usually up to eight pieces a month. She advises buyers to “Be wise and think many times before purchasing, read the description thoroughly, and do not hesitate to ask the seller about the product.”
For her, Cash on Delivery helps “lessen the chance of being scammed because it allows you check the product first before making any payments,” she says.
Ask the buyer for a proof of transaction.
Elysa, who shops up to 10 times per month, shares that online sellers always keep proofs of transaction with them, since this helps them gain trust from their customers.
“Always look for proofs of transaction from their previous customers. Some sellers will also send you pictures [of your purchase] before shipment. It is better to request for a proof first to know if your order is in good condition,” she suggests.
Be discerning about the price of online products.
Angel, who shops online several times a month, warns against buying items that are priced too low.
When a product is in demand, scammers would try to attract potential victims by selling that item at a price that is hard to resist, she says.
“If the price is way [cheaper] than others, think twice, unless you have a good reason to believe it. [Unless the item is on sale,] compare with the price of other [online] stores and double check it,” she adds.
Online shopping may be enjoyable and even addicting, but don’t let your excitement get the better of you. Be clever and vigilant, and remember, if it seems too good to be true, then it probably is.