Sadly, unscrupulous online vendors are well aware of that fact. They may set up a website, or a Craigslist or eBay listing, based upon the fact that most shoppers are too busy and distracted to consider their personal shopping safety.
Trusting your intuition is a very useful safety measure
If you just don’t feel right about a particular brick-and-mortar store, you probably avoid it, right? But do you avoid a website or auction listing just because something doesn’t look or feel right about it?
Online dating can teach you a lot about using your intuition when you shop online. Even if you haven’t explored online dating yourself, no doubt you’ve heard stories about fakers and scammers who compromised the personal and financial safety of someone they met online. Sadly, it’s not an uncommon experience.
That’s why internet shopping safety is primarily a matter of considering the real person or company behind every website and each listing you visit. Trust your intuition to guide you. To do this, you have to set aside distractions and you can’t be in a rush. Things you should look for include:
- Product descriptions that are too short, clipped and inadequate. If a normal person needs more information to make an intelligent purchase, move on to another site to make your purchase. Something may not be right.
- Spelling and grammar errors that stick out and detract from your shopping experience. Reputable companies hire experienced copywriters and editors to eliminate basic spelling and grammar mistakes. Scammers, many of whom are not located in the United States, skip the expense and try to do it themselves.
- A physical address in the United States. If you can’t find a physical address at the bottom of a website, or on the ‘About’ or ‘Contact’ pages, there’s a problem. The CAN-SPAM Act requires commercial emails to include the physical address of the sender in the email and on the website to which any commercial email is linked. But, CAN-SPAM does not require websites to list a physical address, and it does not impose a fine as it does on commercial emails without physical addresses.
- A secure payment portal. Look carefully at the website address in the address bar at the top of your browser screen. It should begin with "https://" because the “s” indicates a level of security you need whenever you enter credit card or other personal information.