When you do shopping, you can face some risks starting from fakes and duplicates to stealing your financial and confidential information. If you think of how to become a smart shopper, you should be aware of the most common shopping scams. It’s good to make research before accepting any shopping offers by phone or from unknown websites. Check Federal Trade Commission website; read other consumers’ feedback on such review websites as BBB, Google Reviews, Yelp, PissedConsumer.com, etc.
Scammers offer bogus products and services that don’t exist. You receive unsolicited phone calls asking for a large amount of money you should pay in advance. More often, older adults become victims of such a scam. When you receive a telemarketing call, pay attention to the several red flags.
The first is when telemarketers ask for a fee upfront, payment information like a credit card, or bank account number. It is illegal and is the sign of a scam.
Another one is asking you to pay a fee to win a prize or claiming that payment will increase your chances of winning that prize. The pressure to act immediately, the usage of scare tactics, demands for payment by courier, or claims that you are guaranteed to “get rich quick” are all scams.
Free trial scam
You sign up for a free trial offer and agree to pay only for shipping and handling. However, the terms and conditions information says that you should pay a monthly fee until you cancel the agreement after the trial period.
You sign up on the phone or online on a free of charge basis or for a small fee for a product and/or service trial for a month. However, this trial turns into ongoing substantial payments.
Smart consumer tips on how to avoid scams
The best way to avoid any scam is to be well-informed. The following smart consumer tips will help you.
- Don’t believe your caller ID. Scammers can make themselves look like anybody they want. There are many tools to trick potential victims like SpoofCard which helps change a phone number on a person’s caller ID. If you are asked for money or personal information, hang up.
- Think twice before signing up for a free trial, low cost, or high return offers. If you still decided to agree for one of them, read information about the company, find reviews, learn the cancellation policy, and check your monthly credit card or bank account statements.
- Sign up for free scam alerts from the Federal Trade Commission. Get the latest tips and advice about scams sent right to your inbox.
- Be especially suspicious if someone pressures you into making a quick decision or keeping a transaction a secret.
- Avoid financial exploitation if you are a senior or a caregiver. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau have developed Money Smart for Older Adults, a curriculum with information and resources.
Smart shopping represents a careful and time-saving person who likes to look good, knows about fashion, follows international trends, and makes smart decisions. Smart shopping is fun but at the same time a good investment. Thus, when you understand your needs, know how to become a smart shopper, and use the foregoing tricks and ideas, you will get a positive and safe shopping experience.