Mar 25 2018

How can I spot an online shopping scam?

Amazon has forever changed how we shop online. With their massive spectrum of products, easy-to-use website, and extremely efficient shipping methods, Amazon has become the face of e-commerce. Fortune estimates that by 2021, Amazon will have been responsible for half of all e-commerce sales!

Although Amazon is widely considered a trusted name in e-commerce, it is easy for third party sellers to fool customers into buying phony products. Through false descriptions, fake package tracking information, and luring prices, these deceptive third-party sellers can work around Amazon’s policies to scam customers.

Cyber Hygiene Impact: For working professionals that shop on Amazon using their work email and/or device, remember these “confirmation” and “tracking number” emails can be phishing scams wherein a link is clicked or file is downloaded and ransomware or spyware infects your company.

Fortunately, there are easy ways to detect if a product on Amazon is a scam or valid third-party seller. With third-party sellers accounting for 44% of Amazon, here are some tips to keep in mind when shopping.

Compare Pricing

Many times, if a price is too good to be true, in most cases it IS too good to be true. When dealing with a product from a third-party seller, it is important to see if the price is outrageously different from similar products/sellers. For example, if there is a brand new Apple IPhone X for sale from a third party seller that only costs $100 (Retail $999), it’s very likely this is a scam. Always compare prices to ensure that an alluring deal is not just a scam.

Always Check the Tracking Number

If your order has not been delivered within the expected time period, check the tracking number to see if the product is in transit. If the tracking number does not work, or the product says it will take six weeks to deliver from overseas, then the product could be a scam.

Do Not Hesitate to Report

Since Amazon pays these sellers every two weeks, the scammer must ensure the customer does not complain about the product within two weeks of receiving the order. If a complaint is made within the two weeks of purchase, the scammer will not receive the money from Amazon for their sale.

It’s important to be a smart shopper when dealing with Amazon’s third-party sellers, as these scammers use small details to fool you. Following these steps will ensure your Amazon purchases are scam-free!