Online Shopping Scams

Online Shopping Scams

Everyone loves to get bargains and enjoys life being as convenient as possible. Online shopping can offer both. However, it can also be a double-edged sword due to the number of online shopping scams that have sprung up. Here are several to keep an eye on.

1. Copied Sites

Many name brands’ sites are being copied in order to trick shoppers into buying from them instead of getting the real deal from the genuine site. At best, you might end up with knockoffs from China. At worst, you might have your identity stolen. Knockoffs cost companies almost one trillion dollars a year, so check out the sites you shop at carefully to make sure they are real.

2. Huge Discounts

Sites that offer huge discounts all the time are suspect because brand-name goods should sell for more and these supposed bargains are more than likely either knockoffs, or lures to spend money but no goods will ever be delivered. Go to Google Shopping to compare prices and then shop around until you find the right item. Avoid the bargain basement — you get what you pay for.

3. A Bad Website

If you see spelling and grammar errors and the whole site looks like it has been thrown together, this is not a site you should be shopping at.

4. Not a Secure Socket Layer (SSL)

Sites with https:// in front of them have an SSL certificate, which is a higher level of security than a regular website. Most scam sites will not bother to get certified.

5. Suspicious Domain Names

In terms of URLs, the brand name and .com extension are preferred and usually a sign of a legitimate site. However, many new extensions have become available, meaning scammers can use the brand names for a time until they are eventually caught. Extensions such as .net, .us, .info and more are all used to create sites that look like the real ones, but aren’t.

6. The Site Was Just Created

Search for the URL at and check the creation date. If it is recent, chances are the site has been started for the express purpose of scamming unsuspecting shoppers.

7. They Don’t Accept Credit or Debit Card Payments

Beware of any site that requires you to pay by wire transfer, pre-paid gift cards, bitcoin or other cryptocurrency. These are not secure methods and in most cases, you will not be able to get your money back.

8. They Ask For Too Much Personal Information

No site should ask you for your social security number or other details that could be used to steal your identity.

9. Their Physical Mailing Address Is Not Legitimate

Thanks to Google and, you can pretty much find any address in the world, see a map of it, and get a Google satellite image of it. If the address does not exist, or the building looks suspicious, don’t shop at that site.

10. No Clear Terms for Doing Business with Them

The site should have terms of service and a refund policy. The refund policy should usually be to refund in full within 30 days. Some states, like Florida, give only 20 days. Full details should be provided on how to return the item and get the refund. Beware of charges like credit card transaction fees and restocking fees, which can take a big bite out of your refund.

11. Bad Reviews

Type in the name of the site or the product you are thinking of buying, and then add the word “scam”. Take seriously all the feedback you find before doing business with that site.

12. Delivery Problems on EBay and Amazon Marketplace

Beware of individual sellers who don’t send your goods. They have either mixed up their inventory levels, or they are running a scam.

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11 Ways to Cut Down on Plastic When Food Shopping

11 Ways to Cut Down on Plastic When Food Shopping

Food shopping is one of the most common trouble spots when it comes to plastic waste piling up and ruining the environment. Here are some easy ways to cut down on plastic when food shopping.

1. Steer Clear of Plastic Shopping Bags

These are extremely dangerous to land and marine animals. Depending on what they are made of, they can take more than a thousand years to break down. Use reusable shopping bags for all your purchases.

2. Buy in Bulk

Buy staples in bulk such as cereal, pasta, and rice. The food is cheaper and you are cutting down on packaging.

3. Cook Your Own Beans and Soups from Scratch

Most tinned food items have a plastic coating inside and out, which can leach into your food. Many canned goods are also very high in salt (sodium), which is used as a cheap preservative but can increase your risk of having a heart attack or stroke. Buy your beans in bulk and boil them up for your various recipes. Add fresh fruits and vegetables to make your own soups.

4. Buy Concentrated Juice

You will find small tubes in the freezer aisle. Defrost, dilute, and pour into a glass bottle or jug rather than buy plastic containers of juice every week.

5. Steer Clear of Frozen Meals

These tend to have a lot of packaging. In particular, watch out for TV dinners. If you must use them, check the plastic tray for the recycle symbol and the number inside the symbol. Then check with you local sanitation to see which types of plastic, numbered 1 to 7, they are able to recycle. If they can’t accept them, think of ways you can reuse them yourself and make these TV dinners a rare treat only – not something you eat every day.

6. Buy from the Deli Counter, Not from the Refrigerator

If you love ham, bologna and so on, buy from the deli counter to avoid the plastic that pre-packaged cold cuts usually come in.

7. Bring Reusable Packaging to the Deli Counter

This will also help you cut down on the plastic package they usually use for cheese, cold cuts, and so on.

8. Buy Fresh Bread from a Bakery

Don’t buy your bread wrapped in plastic. Buy a fresh loaf and wrap it in a cloth bag.

9. Shop Locally

Online grocery shopping is very convenient, but it also results in a great deal of packaging. Where possible, shop at local farmer’s markets instead. This will cut down on gas, the produce will be fresher, and your money will help sustain the local economy.

10. Avoid Tetra Paks

They may seem green – a neat little cardboard container, but the truth is that Tetra Paks are treated with a plastic coating to make them waterproof. Buy your milk in glass bottles instead.

11. Avoid Teabags

Teabags are actually very resource heavy and can be unhealthy for you. The bags are sometimes treated with plastic, or bleached to make the paper very white. They usually come in large cardboard boxes wrapped in plastic. The bags also often come with string, paper tags and staples. All of these would have to be removed if you ever wanted to compost the tea leaves. Use loose tea with an infuser instead and use a travel mug to take your tea with you wherever you go.

With these tips and substitutions, you can do your bit for the environment every time you go food shopping.

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