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Safety Tips for Shopping Online

Avoid scams and stay secure when online shopping, a global leader in Social Commerce and Online Classifieds, is offering security tips to help people shop online without becoming victims of scams in the process. False listings, identity theft, phishing, fraud and theft are on the rise, but taking common sense precautions can eliminate much of the risk.


Victoria, BC (PRWEB) November 22, 2011

Many people like to shop from the comfort of their own home and even more want to get a great deal. That said, the popularity of online classified sites is steadily increasing, allowing people to connect with others in their community to buy and sell used goods. With this in mind is offering steps that consumers can take to protect themselves.

1.    Trust your instincts: first and foremost, the adage “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is” definitely applies to ecommerce. Your instincts are often the best indicator if something is amiss. Follow your gut feeling and use common sense.

2.    Report abuse and suspicious looking postings: if you feel that an ad or a posting looks suspicious report it. Many sites, especially online classifieds have ‘report abuse’ or ‘feedback’ links, use those to alert authorities. Also contact local better business bureaus and police if you feel local action can be taken.

3.    Research the item: Do this beforehand so you know what you are buying, how much it should cost, and what condition it should be in.

5.    Never give out personal information: don’t give your personal information such as your social security, social insurance or national insurance number, date of birth, banking information, your address and so on.

6.    Talk on the phone: while email may be most convenient, especially for initiating transactions, when possible, try to speak over the phone before agreeing to a transaction or agreeing to meet . If they refuse, excuses are often very revealing. Again, go with your gut.

7.    Deal only in cash: for online classified purchases, never wire money, send advance payments, or use your credit card. This also helps you to avoid any deals done through mail – a notorious method for running scams.

8.    Keep it local: you can reduce your risk by keeping all transactions local. This also eliminates the need to use anything other than cash when buying or selling.

9.    Inspect before you buy: never buy something that you can’t check out in-person first – not only can you assess its quality for yourself, but you can meet the seller in-person.

10.    Meet in public: for online classified transactions, always meet to exchange in a public place and bring a friend. This protects you by not revealing your address and makes it less likely that someone will try to scam you.

11.    Don’t go to the car: Do not accompany a person to their car for any reason and, of course, do not let them go to the car with items in hand if they haven’t paid for them yet.

12.    Ask questions: don’t be afraid to ask questions. Ask sellers why they are selling their item and about its condition. And sellers – don’t be afraid to ask buyers what their intentions are. If something sounds shady, remember you don’t owe anyone anything and you can always back out of a transaction before any money is exchanged.

13.    Keep records: especially if you buy and sell often – keep some sort of record of what you have bought and/or sold, where you met and who you bought from or sold to.

The most important tip is: only proceed with a transaction if you are 100 percent comfortable. As a rule, your instincts are your best protection.

About operates free classified sites in more than 80 locations throughout Canada and the United Kingdom. With head offices in Victoria, BC, and coast-to-coast sites from to, this technology company focuses on families, community, sustainability and safety, while ensuring that sellers connect with buyers in a streamlined and efficient process. For more information, visit