Tips for Safer Online Shopping


Knowing how to shop safely is essential when you're buying online. Check out these quick tips for safer spending:

Know Your Seller

Check the Seller's Feedback  Most auction sites and many online malls have a forum where buyers can comment on their experiences with sellers. Be cautious of sellers with little or no feedback, and take negative comments very seriously.

Compare Listings  Search for similar items to see if your item's price is fair-trade. Be suspicious of hard to find items offered at a very low price. If a seller is offering many of the same items, ask to speak with the seller's supplier. Verify that the supplier is a legitimate business with the correct address and phone number through a telephone directory.

Choose PayPal Verified Sellers  See if the seller is a Verified member of PayPal and has been a PayPal member for at least a couple of months. To check PayPal membership status, go to the "Send Money" tab and initiate a payment to the seller. On the "Check the details of your payment" page, before the payment is sent, you'll see the seller's reputation link (e.g. Verified Premier Member) next to his email address. Click the link to see more information about the membership status.

Don't Sacrifice Caution for an Impulse Buy

Always shop with a level head. Take the time to research the item and get to know your seller before agreeing to buy. Don't buy if there isn't enough time to check for warning signs.

Use Extra Caution with High-Demand Items

Particularly around the holidays, certain high-demand items are associated with higher purchasing risks. Do additional checking, especially with computers, jewelry, electronics, and items that are sold out in stores.

Be Wary of Items with Delayed Shipment

Pay attention to the advised delivery date. Delivery dates further than 20 days after your payment involve more risk. Be aware that PayPal sellers are not allowed to sell goods with delivery dates delayed more than 20 days from the date of payment.

If It Sounds Too Good to Be True...

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Ask yourself if the information in the item description sounds believable.

Warning Signs

Seller Has Large Quantity of Hard to Find Items  If a seller claims to suddenly have a large quantity on an item that's impossible to find, question the validity of the claim. Ask to speak with the seller's supplier, and use a phone directory to verify that the supplier is a legitimate business with the correct address and phone number.

Seller Buys Low Dollar Items and Lists High Ticket Items  On many sites, it is possible to improve your feedback rating by buying *and* selling items, so read the feedback comments carefully. If the seller has only made purchases (rather than sales), his feedback is not necessarily an indication of his selling reputation.

Seller Has Little, No, or Negative Feedback  While a low feedback rating may simply indicate that the seller is new, transactions with low feedback sellers tend to involve more risk.

Seller Lists Multiple Items with the Same Picture  Be wary of multiple listings with the same picture, particularly if the picture is from the manufacturer's website. If the photo looks like it was taken at a home or office, chances are better that the seller does have that item.

Following these tips will help you have a safer shopping experience. If you'd like to learn more about shopping safely online, see our Tips For Buyers.

We are always available to assist you with suspicious transactions. If you have concerns about a transaction, Contact Us before you complete the purchase.