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Tis the Season: Tips for Safe Shopping Any Time

You see something you want. It looks awesome. You go to purchase and one – or more – of the following happens:

  • There’s no online store
  • There’s no website at all
  • You’re asked to cashapp or venmo
  • You’re asked to order and pay via DM or email

Days, weeks, months pass and you’re out money, don’t have what you ordered and your bank is like, “oh well”.

I’m all for supporting micro-business and folks just starting out. Nothing wrong with that. But just as I’ve laid out due diligence for those running ecommerce businesses before, I want you – as a customer – to do yours, and protect your wallet and more in the process.

Red flags that shouldn’t be ignored:
  • There’s no website or, at the very least, proper payment page.
  • You’re asked to pay via personal payment processors.
  • There’s no phone number, email address or mailing address.
  • The page you pay on doesn’t have a valid SSL certificate.
  • Personal payment processors are the only way to pay
  • They’re only on instagram, the profile is personal, private and/or comments are turned off.
Protect yourself further:
  • Get yourself an account/card just for shopping
  • Use different email addresses for online shopping than your banking info.
  • Use better/stronger passwords
  • Look for contact info
  • Look for return/exchanges policies
  • Look for order processing and shipping times, and during holidays, cut-off dates
  • Screenshot or PDF your receipt and make sure there’s a date and time stamp.
  • Attempt to contact the vendor
  • Don’t go longer than 3 business days without a response before escalating.

Whether online or in person, consider using Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, PayPal or other services that cloak your actual card info during checkout.

Truth is, any time you present your payment info you’re taking a risk. Lessen your risk by taking these minimum precautions. Happy shopping!