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How to Really Be Sure About Expensive Purchases Online

Kalen Bruce | December 26, 2016

It’s 11pm and you’ve been looking on eBay all night for the perfect commuter car. You’re about to give up and go to bed and then you see it; it’s the perfect car, at the perfect price.

Is it too good to be true? Maybe not, but maybe. How can you know? It’s in Tucson and you’re in Omaha.

So what if you buy it and it’s nothing like the pictures. The pictures were six years old. And now you’ve got a car that barely runs and a bank account than ran freely, all the way down to a couple hundred dollars.

You know there are good deals out there. The Internet often has the best deals. But how can you tell a deal from a scam? Well, for starters, you can read this article.

Know Where to Go and Know Where You Are

The first step is to make sure you’re actually on a reputable website.

You don’t want to be vulnerable to scams or identity theft before you even buy something. And there are ways to know which websites are trustworthy and which ones aren’t.

Looking for things like “https” at the front of a domain name instead of simply “http” is a great starting point, but that only encrypts the data between you and the website. It’s a lot easier to get an “https” at the beginning of your domain name than it used to be, so you can’t rely solely on that.

Another good idea is to look for authentication, before entering your private information. According to Nerd Wallet,

Most legitimate websites will carry some sort of seal of approval from an organization like McAfee, the Better Business Bureau, VeriSign or TRUSTe. This lets consumers know someone has taken the time to verify the trustworthiness of the vendor. Of course, these seals can be faked, but if there’s no seal at all, you may want to reconsider entering your information.

The easiest way to stay safe in this arena is to only go to websites you already know and trust, preferably not through emails, but directly to the websites. Emails are an old stomping ground for fake website scams, so it’s always best to make sure you know exactly what you’re typing in and where you’re going, before you end up giving all your credit card information to ebay.weirddomainame.com, instead of eBay itself.

If you must use new websites, make sure to do your research before giving them all of your information. A quick Google search can generally help you here. Check out several different reviews from different websites. That should give you an idea.

Once you know you’re on a legitimate website, focus on the purchase.

How to Know What You’re Getting

So you know you’re on a safe website. You’re on eBay or Amazon perhaps, but you’re not buying something from these websites directly, you’re buying from an individual.

Some guy is trying to get rid of his old car, or maybe a computer that he upgraded to be the fastest on the planet (according to the listing). It seems legit, right? But $5,000 is a lot of money …and why are you spending that much on a computer?

Regardless, you need to know if this is money well spent or your life savings given away to guitarninja57. You also need to know why $5000 was your life savings, but that’s another article.

Yes, eBay does offer protection against total scams, and they can help you get your money back. But that can be a long process, and if you didn’t read the fine print, you may not even have a case.

Obviously that means that the first thing you should do is read the fine print. But beyond that, there is really only one way to know for sure.

The Only Way to Really Know

If you’re close enough to go take a look at the item, or if you have a friend in that area, those are great options. But you don’t have friends that’s often not the case if you’re buying online. You don’t know someone in every city.

Instead of trying to make new friends in different parts of the country purely for personal gain, it may be better to try something like Veryfier.

I get it. You saw this coming. This is the Veryfier blog, so of course this is going to be the “best option.” But I challenge you to find another service that can do what is done here.

So how does it work? It’s pretty simple.

  1. You find something you want to buy
  2. You find a Veryfier in that area
  3. The specialist inspects the item
  4. You receive a report with everything you need to know
  5. You make the call to purchase or not

Even if the item is in your area, if you’re not a mechanic, looking at the car may not do you much good. There are plenty of certified-mechanic Veryfiers that can go check out the car for you.

There’s no reason to guess, or to go look at an item that you know nothing about. Veryfier takes all the guesswork out and helps you know that you’re making a safe purchase, and most importantly that you’re getting what you think you’re getting.