We’ve seen a rise in scams related to the sale of photographic equipment lately. Here’s a few tips to stay safe while shopping online.
We’ve seen a rise in scams related to the sale of photographic equipment lately, with a few customers reporting that they had been scammed in the last week. In those particular cases, they bought goods from an online store that posed as the website of a physical store based in South Africa, but after making payment, the goods were never sent. While these reports were isolated to one particular site, we have seen many similar sites come and go over the last few years with increasing regularity.
Here’s a few tips to stay safe when shopping online:
- The old adage is true: If a deal is too good to be true, it probably is. Drastically lower prices can be an indication of a scam.
- Be wary of fake websites. Indicators of websites operating as scams include badly designed or coded sites, incorrect product descriptions, bad quality or no product images, and questionable payment methods or contact details.
- Scam websites often use photographs of store interiors in an attempt to appear more legitimate. Check the address of the store on Google Maps, and use Street View to see if the storefront exists, and use Google Image Search to verify that the interior shots are not taken off the web.
- Some scammers might ask you to pay a deposit before ordering the product from a supplier – most legitimate stores won’t ask for a deposit, and will charge you the full price only when the product is ready to ship.
When in doubt, please double check to see if the website or seller is authentic. Keep asking the seller questions – a legitimate store would know the product and not mind the questions, while a scammer might get frustrated. If you’re still in doubt, please contact us for more advice.
We’d like to see that all photography enthusiasts in South Africa are happy with their purchases, so stay wary and shop safely!
Update: Preston shared a great tip with us on Twitter:
@OrmsDirect Run a business check on the reg number with a credit bureau or CIPC. Report fraud to SAFPS
— Preston (@PDWPhoto) October 4, 2013