by Adediwura Adeaga
With online stores popping up every second, it can be difficult to tell real vendors with actual goods to sell and a reputation to protect from fake vendors who only want to swindle people.
While online shopping brings immense comfort, it can also bring uncertainty. Most people rely on reviews given on the page (or from review websites) from past customers. However, the reviews might not be authentic or might have been organized by the fake online vendor to gain the trust of likely victims. When you see a vendor sharing screenshots of paying customers, you might be tempted to trust the vendor. The big question is how can you differentiate a legit vendor to an online scammer?
#1. Active social media account: Before patronizing that vendor online, scan through various social media platforms for the brand. How long have the social media accounts been in existence. Are they active? How often do they post? Do they showcase the people behind the brand? Check the comment section and tag section. Check out posts they are tagged on, check out the type of people they are following. That way, you can know who is who. A business that accumulates thousands of followers within a few weeks or months while having few posts is shady. The vendor most likely bought the account to run an illegal business.
#2. Government Registration Number: A legit store should always be registered under the government. A simple way to confirm is the account number. If a vendor is registered with the government, the vendor is most likely to have a corporate business account. Sending money to a vendor’s personal account details is a red flag. If you have not registered your business under the government, do so as fast as you can.
#3. Google search: Another way to know if the vendor is legit or not is by typing for the business on google. Check out possible links to the name of the brand, look for names mentioned alongside the name of the brand, search for the CEO’s name, and check if the name exists or not. Look out for articles written about the brand, seminars, and events held by the name. You can search for the name of people who once worked at the company too. That way, you will be able to shop with peace of mind.
#4. Location: You can validate the location of the brand by checking their office address. You can even reach out to friends or families who stay near the location where the vendor claims to have an office, let them verify if there is truly an office belonging to them there or if it’s a hideout to carry out fraudulent activities. Also, you can make use of Google Maps to know if the location truly exists or not.
#5. Naming: Before making the payment, ensure you are sending it to a designated company’s bank account. Even if it’s a personal account (and this is risky), and the vendor’s name is Segun Adeniji, make sure you are sending the money to Segun Adeniji, not Onkineye Onyeru.
#6. Ask questions: Make adequate research about the vendor. Ask people on different social media platforms, ask people on your contact list, colleagues at work, even members of the society you belong to. If a vendor has scammed before, someone somewhere must have a tale to tell.
#7. Website: Finally, check out if they own a website. One way to gain a customer’s trust is by owning a professional looking website. Not just any website but an active website with detailed features such as a blogging. Check out the date the blog was last updated. Check out the website domain name. Sometimes, fake vendors register similar sounding domain names, mimicking verified vendors with similar looking websites. For instance, our website is epower.ng and not epower.com.ng
Also, look out for typos on the website. Too many typos indicate that the website was rushed which means the website is not legit. It was created to carry out illegal transactions.
If you have been swindled online and you are wondering how to recover your money check this out. https://www.epower.ng/stories/6-steps-to-recover-your-money-after-been-scammed-in-nigeria