Being Smart when Shopping on Classified Ads Sites
With the economy as it is more and more people are turning to classified ads sites to do their shopping. Now while most people using to sell goods are honest, and are only looking to make a fair trade, as in any area money is involved, especially online, there is a risk of misunderstandings or encountering someone unscrupulous. For that reason, it’s so important to be vigilant.
Here are some tips we recommend;
Always rely on common sense
If something looks too good to be true, then it probably is! By all means investigate the deal further to see if it is in fact genuine but do not part with any money until you have some concrete evidence that the deal is real. You should have trust in your gut instinct when shopping on classified ads sites.
Meet the seller in public
If possible, arrange to meet the seller somewhere public so you can see the goods that you are buying first hand. Bear in mind they will know you are coming to buy so they know you are likely to have cash on you. Meeting them in a public place would make them think twice about running off with your money if that was their intention. If the seller seems uncomfortable with meeting you in a public place then beware. Always try to meet in a public place, in daylight, and avoid carrying large amounts of cash on your person.
Avoid paying in advance
Make it a strict rule of yours to pay on receipt of goods when shopping on classified ads sites. Be particularly wary of sellers who suddenly announce they need to ship the goods from a different location to the one originally advertised, and ask you to pay them in advance. If you must pay in advance of receipt of goods, use only a reputable and trustworthy third party payment provider offering either payment protection arrangements or escrow arrangements (whereby the payment provider will hold your payment on the seller’s behalf until you have confirmed satisfactory receipt of goods). Always try to ensure any payment provider is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority.
Use safe and secure payment methods
When shopping on classified ads sites, avoid using URLs or clicking on links in emails sent to you by the seller, such as links claiming to be third party payment providers, without first checking that the link goes to a genuine and reputable provider. A common tactic is to send a link that appears to be for a reputable site, but in fact harvests your login credentials, bank details or other personal information for improper use.
Guard your personal information
Don’t ever be too willing or eager to give out your personal information – your name, address, telephone numbers, National Insurance number, date of birth, bank or bank card details, passport details, login credentials – are valuable and can easily be misused. Yes, to a certain extent the buyer and seller need to know who they are doing business with, and the seller may need to post the goods to the buyer, but avoid giving more information than necessary, and never give out your bank or card details, National Insurance number, or date of birth, when buying.
Invite a friend
When going to view goods or meet a seller, take someone with you if at all possible. This is not only for your own personal safety but having a second opinion on what you are buying can be useful as well. If no one is able to accompany you, at least let someone know where you are going.
If you keep these things in mind when shopping on classified ads sites, then hopefully your bargain hunting should not only be fun, but be fruitful and safe.