You’re shopping online one day when you come across a website that features a pair of shoes you admire. When you review the price, you’re shocked to see an amount that’s a fraction of what you expected. The website has your size and color preference in stock, but the quantity is limited. Do you buy the shoes before the great deal disappears?
Many people value the acquisition of quality merchandise at discount prices, and some tout their most impressive finds to friends and loved ones as a hunter would a prized trophy. Finding such a great deal, however, can blind some to the authenticity of the website offering it. Is the website legitimate or a scammer’s flashy bait designed to lure blind find shoppers into a trap to steal that person’s money without delivering on the purchase promise?
Blind find is the removal of doubt and reason upon the discovery of a substantially discounted item or service. When a shopper discovers a blind find deal, nothing can dissuade the individual from purchasing it. Scammers specifically target these types of shoppers in the hopes of separating them from their cash. It’s your job to identify such temptations for the rip-offs they are to avoid becoming a blind find website shopper.
The best way to avoid getting ripped off by website scammers is to shop at well-known locations. Target.com, BestBuy.com, and Sears.com are prominent stores with a strong web presence. A person is more likely to receive the quality merchandise they desire at these websites than an unknown website that claims to have the same products at substantially reduced prices.
If you find an unknown website with unique, desirable merchandise at unbelievably low prices, and you’re determined to purchase an item from that site, you’re taking a chance that the store isn’t authentic. To determine that site’s trustworthiness, open your favorite search engine and type the name of the website followed by the word “scam.” If shoppers have been ripped off by the site, it’s likely they’ll tell others about that experience online. Avoid shopping at any site where others have paid for merchandise and haven’t received it or have received knockoffs (fake items) instead of name brand products.
Scam sites often come and go as fast as a shooting star in the night’s sky. If you find an interesting website shortly after a scammer created it, user feedback might not be available. If you can’t find useful feedback on the store, find the Contact Us button on the site and write down the contact information. Call the company and ask questions about it, such as:
- What’s the physical address of the business?
- How long has it been in operation?
- How can they offer such low prices compared to other stores offering the same brand of merchandise?
- Is the product you’ve identified authentic?
If the person is unable or unwilling to answer your questions, it could be a scam. You’re better off seeking a purchase elsewhere. If you insist on making the purchase, you might consider using a prepaid card purchased from a store.
If a criminal gets his or her hands on a shopper’s credit card number, a victim must cancel the card, receive a new one, and redirect any automatic payments drawn on the card to the new account information. A prepaid card is likely to have an activation fee to acquire it, but if the merchant turns out to be a scammer, your losses are limited to the cash you added to the card. Some prepaid cards from the major providers such as Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express could also offer fraud protection to guard against such criminal acts. Check the service agreement in the card documentation before buying one.
Always use caution when shopping online, and never let a blind find purchase cost you your hard earned money.