How To Avoid Getting Scammed When Selling or Buying Online


Online marketing in Kenya is growing over the years, and with that scammers found a way to steal money/products from you. In case you think you are the only one getting scammed online (buyers) you are so wrong, sellers too fall victim to online scammers. This article explains what it means to get scammed and gives you guidelines to help you avoid getting scammed.

What Do You Mean By Online Scamming

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of online scamming? You may have been scammed or even know someone who has ever been scammed. Online scamming is a type of crime in which someone uses the internet to take advantage of victims to steal their money. According to us, the following cases would mean you have been scammed online:

  1. When you pay for an item and not receiving the item.
  2. Ordering an item and getting a different item from the one you ordered, with no return policy. For example, ordering an item and getting a fake product and the seller fails to accept you to return the item.
  3. When you buy a Dead on Arrival product with no return policy. This happens when the product fails to work or function and there is no return policy.
  4. When the seller changes the price after you have purchased the product at a certain price and has no return policy. For example, paying for an item you have seen online at a certain price, and then the seller changes the price after you pay for the item and also fails to accept to refund your money.
  5. When the buyer is a thief. Sellers should be aware that not all customers are genuine, they might be con artists pretending to be buyers.
  6. Rogue delivery personnel. Some delivery couriers have dishonest drivers who end up getting away with your item or money.
  7. Credit card theft. Some sellers or buyers might steal your credit card information and use it to purchase other products.
  8. Bad checks and bank transfers. This happens when a buyer gives you a bank check and a rejection occurs when you deposit the check. Therefore make sure the checks have cleared first before giving your products, especially for a first-time buyer.

Guidelines to Help You Avoid Getting Scammed Online

As a Buyer

1. The deal is too good

Scammers rely on this to lure their victims into their traps, because most people will be in a hurry not to miss out on the chance. Therefore make sure you do various research on an item that you will be purchasing and know the price range to avoid getting scammed.

2. Checking the reviews.

Reviews save you a lot of heartache. Take your time to thoroughly read through the reviews by other buyers and the responses of the seller. You wouldn’t want to buy from businesses with bad reviews or negative comments either on their page or Google site.

3. Physical Locations of the shop

Most online sellers with physical locations are less likely to scam you because, at the end of the day, you will be able to track their physical locations and take measurements to get back your money. Therefore opt to buy from vendors with physical locations.

4. Mode of payment

Vendors with an official registered mode of payment such as a till number or pay bill show they are more serious with their business, therefore avoid vendors who ask you to send money directly to their phone number.

5. Return policy

Before purchasing an item ask if the vendor has a goods return policy. Vendors with a return policy are the best to buy from, if a vendor doesn’t have a return policy be very cautious.

6. Active Socials

Vendors with active socials and good consistency in posting their products online show determination in their work. If they don’t post often they are likely to raise eyebrows.

7. Duration of the business

Knowing how long the business has been running will help you avoid getting scammed. An online page that has been there for a long is less likely to scam you. Also, businesses that are verified will increase your confidence when buying from them. This doesn’t imply that all new businesses are scammers.

8 Too many people involved

When a vendor refers you to too many people you should be cautious. When they tell you “Ongea na huyu” without giving you their names do yourself a favor and avoid.

As a seller

1. A customer in a hurry

When the buyer rushes you to deliver an item and it’s a valuable item be very cautious.

2. A customer who switches their phone

When a customer always switching on and off their phone. When you try to contact them and their phone is off is a sign you should be careful.

3. Evidence of the Item

Before you deliver any item make sure to check the item is in good condition. Some buyers will receive an item and say it’s in bad condition and demand a refund, being an honest seller you will accept only to find out later the item is not yours, and they exchanged the item.

4. Good Communication

Make sure you have good communication with the rider or person who is doing the delivery and the customer. The buyer might claim that they haven’t received the item and request a refund which will be a loss for you, therefore make sure you track your delivery and communicate with both the rider and the customer once the item is delivered.

5. Separating from your item

As a seller, you should always have your item until the item is paid for. Be cautious when the buyer requests you to leave your item at a certain place and go with them so that they can make a transaction with you.

6. Places to deliver

When a buyer requests you to deliver a high-end product in the middle of the slums and not a known area you should always be keen. Some buyers want to steal from you, cause you physical harm, or even worse therefore be aware of the places you are supposed to deliver.

7. Mode of payments

Always have one or two registered modes of payment either till, pochi la biashara or pay bill this will help you avoid the buyer from reversing the money. Do not accept personal checks because the check can get rejected either because the bank account doesn’t exist or the bank account doesn’t have any money. If the customer keeps on insisting on having another mode of payment that is a big red flag.


Online shopping is growing rapidly in the Kenyan market, today the number of people who shop online is 40.3% and the number is set to grow to 53.6%. Online shopping will always be there and scammers will always try to find new ways of scamming you, with the guidelines we have given you, you should be able to shop online with confidence. Never let your guard down and trust your instincts.

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