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How to Spot an Online Shopping Scam When You See One - Part 1

Updated: Dec 14, 2020

Sarah Peak the creator of "What I Bought Vs. What I Got shares her advice on how to avoid being scammed online. Shopping online can be great or turn into a nightmare based on how lucky you are to not be scammed. Scammers have gotten great at stealing other peoples images and the big social media platforms like Facebook, Esty and more do little to nothing to stop it. Thousands of people are scammed daily and this is why Sarah has committed her time to research, track and expose these online shopping scams.

S.Peak-ing of tips & "Hakx" to help keep you safe from the scams this holiday season (and beyond)...

Here are the top tips and "Hakx" you can employ before you make a purchase from any website. There are many other tells, and they differ from one scam website to the next, but luckily, if you find a site that you are unsure of, you can ask any one of the administrators on

What I Bought vs. What I Got and someone will happily look over the page for you. Feel free to post your questions on the page. A PM will result in a more timely response from an admin (should you need it). We do our very best to vet the scam sites, but sometimes even the experts

get it wrong, which is why posting your question on the page could at times be the better route.

Here are some top scammers and how to identify scams:

1. Based in China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, etc. (check the “page transparency” section of their Facebook page).

2. Ridiculous page title (The Koke Store, Azcozy Jock Straps Store, Pnooty). Often these are just consonants strung together like a cat stomped on their keyboard and they just ran with it.

3. The title of the Facebook page is different from the .com address at the bottom of the ad.

4. There are hidden “angry” emojis on the ad. Ones you cannot see unless you click

5. Your warning or negative comment was deleted.

6. The comment count is different than the number of comments left up, or comments are turned off.

7. You cannot post an image in the comments.

8. Obviously high-quality items (like felted wool) are ridiculously cheap.

9. “About Us” commonly used by known scam sites. (Check out our new website's About Us Parade.)

10. Items for sale have nonsensical names and short descriptions.

11. Overall, the site reads as though it were written by someone whose first language is not English with a strong aversion to the Oxford comma.

12. No contact information at all or contact information that is exactly the same as many other scam sites (give it a Google). If this is the case, the address and phone are often fake. A real business will have full contact information that is easily located on the page.

13. The model's face is blurred.

14. EVERYTHING is on sale (specifically, the original price is crossed out and is followed by a ridiculously low sale price).

15. The “sales” have odd markdowns (like 34%).

16. The math for the markdowns is incorrect.

Next Week continues here with "How to spot an Online Shopping Scam with Sarah Peak " Part 2

Please support WIBWIG as with the constant flow of scammers our work load is never ending!


(Anatomy of a scam page photos courtesy of Eugene Lin, a former admin at WIBWIG.)


Meet The Team


Eva Wisenbeck

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Eva Wisenbeck is a Co-Presenter of LifeHakx & a Wellness Coach

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Mary Collins

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Mary Collins is the Creator and Presenter of LifeHakx Media.

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