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9 Tips to Prevent Online Fraud

bank, banking, businessOnline businesses use websites as their trading ground.

It is the most rapid way to get in touch with clients. But you have to watch out for those fraudsters, who are studying how they can pull a fast one on you. These people might sell you something that does not exist or sell something that has no quality. They can also ask details of your identity or your financial information to scam you. Be careful in clicking different links because they might provide a website that looks real just to get your payment details. Always check the authenticity of the website you visit.

If you are the seller, buyers may not pay right away. There are various reasons like the payment cannot be sent immediately, but the buyer wants the items delivered and expect payment later. They may not pay you.

Save yourself from complications. Here are tips to help you:

  • Scammers will set dummy sites. Because they are familiar with the authentic sites, they can add some things, a different spelling or a word. Check the web address to know if they are real.
  • Do not click any links or use a money transfer mode when you want to pay on an auction site. Use Paypal or other similar services that can protect your money.
  • It is wise to know the dispute resolution, terms and conditions of the auction sites before transacting.
  • One of the famous scheme of fraudsters is opening a credible account like eBay. They would buy things to get great feedback, hence, they get positive feedback scores. Smart, right? Be smarter, go and check the seller’s profile and know the true comments from actual buyers. If they don’t have it, you are their target!
  • You need photos to know if the product is for real. Do your research and check Google to know if there is a cut and paste routine. Once you confirmed it, that is warning sign.
  • Very little details? Do not hesitate to ask for pictures that will set the scammer to give you pictures, which you can check later.
  • Bargain price? A lot of fraudster uses this bargain tactic using a good online platform like Gumtree or eBay just to appear reliable. The reality is: it is a fake item or the product does not exist. If you have sent your money, say goodbye to it.
  • No contact number? Sometimes, if not, fraudsters put a number that you cannot contact. Stop right away and do not transact with them.
  • You are asked to communicate outside the official system like using mobile phone or email? Why, when there is an official platform to contact each other.

If these instances happen to you…

Take note of these tips before you buy anything online. To be sure, purchase items at the brand’s official website and avoid transacting with shops in social media. If you buy from other people, you cannot be certain of their quality and authenticity. If you have been scammed, call the right authorities. If you are in the UK area, you can call the Action Fraud helpline 0300 123 2040.

 

How to Identify Fake Reviews

Brown shopping bags

Before you shop online, be careful on the reviews you see.

Before buying online, it is natural for us to look for the feedback of other consumers about the product or service. The sad part of it is that: a lot of reviews online are fake. So, who does these deception? They could be businesses, retailers, marketers, whose main purpose is to increase their sales and damage their rival companies, writers who use phony names, and people who gets a deal from positive comments, or those who gets paid for their reviews.

Fake online reviews can surely hurt the netizens. People can waste good money in purchasing products that are not good. Products like that may endanger your health and safety.

To help you know whether a review online is fake or not, here are some tips:

  • Language – Real reviews present information on the performance of the product. The fake ones raves and uses superlatives rather than detailed product description.
  • Review the reviewer – A reviewer who writes a review for a certain company shows that the reviewer has a vested interest.  The reviewer can use photo of the product purchased to show authenticity. Investigate the site. Some allow posts from consumers who purchased in their site. Know their policies on this.
  • Be sharp on the detail – If a reviewer can tell why he or she like or dislike a certain product or service, that is not fake. If the review uses general statement like, “It was horrible!” or “It was so good,” it only means the review was written to  blatantly credit or discredit a certain product or service, to get a negative or positive feel to the reader.
  • Too negative or too positive – Do not believe reviews that gives a crushing 1-star or a fabulous 5-star.  A real review is in the middle of the spectrum.
  • Well-written reviews – Be cautious if the review is written well and everything is perfect. A marketing shill or a person who has vested interest could have written it. It also uses superlatives to describe the product.
  • Keyword stuffing – some online fake reviews will use the game search engine results to create traffic to the product purchase page or site. This is done by repeating the same product over and over again to make the product appear in the search results. This tactic is used to manipulate the ranking.
  • Reviewer’s history – Findout the history of the reviewer by checking the different online stores to know how many reviews the reviewer has written.
  • Same text over and over again – If a review is seen again and again, it could be bot generated. Also, reuse of the same content taken from another review is fake.
  • Check the reviewer’s ID – a long line of numbers on its username should you that profile could be fake. An example would be “Reviewer 072514123789”. A username like that could mean that that profile could be a bot.

Do Online Shoppers Check Product Reviews?

buy on a computer

People search for reviews before purchasing online.

Today, consumers trust their fellow consumers more than they trust the different advertisements shown in both the social media, print, and television. The past years have seen how much product reviews has become a powerful tool to convince consumers to purchase. A research done by Jupiter Research confirms that 77% of the consumers refer to the product reviews before they decide on their actual purchase.

Another study also showed that 90% of the consumers admits that the product reviews that they read online has an intensifying effect on their purchase. The customary way of sales and marketing has not retained its power as to the user generated content more specifically, the customer reviews. Sadly, most corporations has not use this kind of marketing and branding. The truth is: product reviews can establish trust among potential consumers which later on can become purchase.

It is wise for businesses to allow the consumers to air what they think of their product/s whether the comment is positive or negative. Even bad reviews has their advantages too. It has the ability to help build the trust of the consumers. Bad reviews has more honesty and credibility which helps the consumers modify their expectations.

Reevo states that negative reviews does improve the conversions to purchase by 67% which is a pretty much large number especially when translated to sales. Reevo also discovered that negative reviews of products are actually the ones that convert more. This also means, consumers are paying close attention. Surveys likewise shows that 68% of consumers trust the reviews no matter if they are good or bad. On the flip side, 30% thinks that the reviews went through censorship or if not, they are just fake reviews because no negative comment was written about the product.

Types of reviews:

  • The brief overview review – This type is usually written in one page for consumers to quickly see which products has the highest and lowest ratings. Brief overview review are found in affiliate sites which is usually done in one or two paragraphs. It also has a star rating or any kind of rating. This comprises product image and a link.
  • The comprehensive and full review – A longer review is much better that the brief overview review because it goes into details. It shows the advantages of the product, its features, and it also tells what is good and bad about the product. Included in the review would be screenshots, and product photos.

CEO Matt Moog of Power Reviews also added that, “We try to focus on identifying the valuable reviews. If the product is popular and selling at a high price point, that review will have more impact.” Product reviews are not just for consumers but also for retailers and brands. Reviews can result positive eventuality like offers, get suppliers and develop their products more. This can help change the products. Matt Moog said, “It’s the best form of market research—real-time and specific, from people you know have used the product.”