As much as we trust authorised retailers and official websites, it’s undeniable that the prices of the goods and services they offer tend to cost a bit more (or a lot more, depending on the circumstances). You’ll also be hard-pressed to find pre-loved items through those websites. At the same time, though, you’re wary about online shopping in general, so what can you do?
Use RMP’s Database
The Royal Malaysian Police has set up a portal for you to check for scammers based on their bank account number. For most internet purchases, you will be required to bank in the money to confirm your purchase. Simply key in the bank account number provided into the portal. If the bank account holder is a reported scammer, they will pop up in the results, then you’ll know to stay well away from them! Do note, however, that this portal is still under beta at the time of writing, so it’s not perfect yet.
Aim for COD
The Cash-on-Delivery (COD) option of payment is one way to avoid being scammed. Although not fool-proof, many scammers prefer to remain anonymous via fully-online transactions so that they cannot be identified by their looks. They tend to prey on those who opt for postage. Those who live outside of the urban areas of Kuala Lumpur, Penang, and Johor Bahru may find their COD options limited, though. Remember to choose heavily-populated and safe places to meet up, just in case!
Inspect the Product
Another advantage of opting for COD is that you get the opportunity to inspect the product before you pay. Take your time to inspect for software and hardware faults that weren’t explicitly stated in the description. If the person seems to be rushing you, you may want to consider letting the deal go – they may be trying to make you overlook a crucial fault in the product.
Google the Seller
We live in the age of digital technology and social media, and while a lot of information is private, a lot of information is also freely available on the Internet. A quick Google using the seller’s bank account number, website, webpage, company name, or even phone number should be able to yield results. This may come in the form of reviews, blogs, or ratings from previous purchasers. If the results are favourable, especially if the seller seems to have a strong track record of previous satisfied sales, it’ll mean that your online purchase is a little safer.
Too Good to be True?
Don’t automatically fall for the cheapest bargain online. Yes, getting cheap bargains is probably the main reason you’re shopping online besides the convenience of it all, but you have to be wary as well. The bottom line is: if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.
Online shopping is fast becoming a new alternative to the conventional brick-and-mortar shopping avenue. Websites such as Lowyat forums, alibaba, Shopee, or even sites for pre-loved items such as Carousel provide many tantalising offers. Remember to stay safe, and happy shopping!