Online shopping scams involve scammers pretending to be legitimate online sellers, either with fake shopping websites or social media pages on facebook,instagram, twitter etc.
How this scam works
One of the easiest way to do shopping these days is through the internet.
Many traders and customers meet and conduct their various businesses through online shopping sites, product pages on social media etc.
In Nigeria, traders have also discovered the benefits of making their businesses global and easily accessible, therefore her cyberspace have seen an upsurge of online business.
Aonther of group of people that have taken advantage of the presence of businesses online, are online scammers!
While many online sellers are legitimate, unfortunately, scammers can use the anonymous nature of the internet to rip off unsuspecting shoppers.
Scammers use the latest technology to set up replicas of familiar shopping websites or fake new websites. They may use sophisticated designs and layouts, possibly stolen logos, fully registered "com.ng", ".ng" domains.
Many of these websites offer luxury items such as popular brands of clothing, jewelry and electronics at extremely low prices. other times you will receive nothing at all.
The biggest tip-off that a retail website is a scam is the method of payment. Scammers will often ask you to pay using anonymous payment platform such as itunes gift cards, E-currencies( e.g perfect money, bitcoin etc), but if you send your money this way, it’s unlikely you will see it again or receive your purchased item.
- Unprofessional website design
- Unreasonable popups and errors
- Suspicious domain names; usually contains long and hyphenated names including names of popular online shopping sites such as jumia234.com, buy-cheap-electonics-online.com.ng or something similar.
- Traces of cloning or mimicking of an existing shopping website: Scammers often mislead their victims by cloning an existing shopping website or popular brand in every aspect of looks and design in order to defraud them.
- Unclear or grammatically incorrect content or product descriptions: Scammers often feel lazy to write out detailed product descriptions and specifications, so they just use the same short, undetailed or just generic descriptions for almost all products.
- The seller advertises products at unbelievably low prices, or have amazing benefits or features that sounds too good to be true.
- The seller does not have a verifiable business or company name: Scammers usually have an unclear or no contact information at all, besides having just a contact form.
- They only accept non traceable means of payment especially e-currencies such as perfect money, cryptocurrencies etc.
- Check if the website or social media page has a refund or returns policy, and that their policies sound fair. Good online shopping sites have detailed complaint or dispute handling processes in case something goes wrong.
- When using shopping websites, find out exactly who you are dealing with.
- Check to make the sure it is a registered business or company.
- When making online payments, only pay for items using a secure payment services, look for a URL starting with ‘https’ and a closed padlock symbol, or a payment provider such as Paystack, PayPal etc.
- Think twice before using virtual currencies such as bitcoin— they do not have the same protections as other transaction methods so you can’t get your money back once you send it.
- Avoid any arrangement with a stranger that asks for up-front payment via money order, wire transfer, pre-loaded card or electronic currency, like Bitcoin. It is rare to recover money sent this way. Never send money or give credit card or online account details to anyone you don’t know or trust.
Have you been scammed?
- If you have bought something online and there is a problem, you should first try to contact the seller. There may be a legitimate reason for the problem.
- If you don't get a response at all or not satisfied with the response and suspect that it may be a scam, you may be able to arrange a charge-back through your bank or credit union if you have paid by credit card. You may wish to contact your local consumer protection agency to seek assistance.
- We encourage you to report scams to us via the report a scam page. This helps us to warn people about current scams, monitor trends and disrupt scams where possible. Please include details of the scam contact you received, for example, email or screenshot.
We also provide guidance on protecting yourself from scams and where to get help.
Spread the word to your friends and family to protect them.