Vetting Sellers Before Transferring Money: Your Guide to Safe Online Shopping


Online shopping is fast and convenient, but it comes with inherent risks. Fraudsters can disappear after receiving your money, the goods might not arrive, or they might not match the advertisement. In some cases, the fraudster might simply close the merchant account and vanish. However, by learning how to vet sellers properly, you can protect yourself and shop with confidence. This article will guide you through understanding fraud tactics and vetting sellers effectively.

Understanding Fraudster Tactics

Before we delve into the vetting process, it’s essential to understand common tactics used by fraudsters:

1. Selling Fake Products

Fraudsters often lure buyers with deals that seem too good to be true. For instance, if a brand-name bag is being sold at a suspiciously low price, be wary. Mary, for example, saw an online ad for a cheap designer bag and bought it immediately. When the product arrived, it was a fake.

2. Products That Don’t Match the Display Image

Sometimes, the received product differs significantly from the one advertised. It could be a different color, size, shape, or have different properties. For instance, Bob saw a beautiful shoe online and purchased it. When it arrived, it was scratched and not made of leather as advertised.

3. Disappearing Merchants

Fraudsters might also simply disappear after receiving your money. For example, Rose wanted to buy fashion clothes from an online shop. After she transferred the money, the fraudster closed the shop and became unreachable.

How to Vet the Seller

To avoid falling victim to these scams, follow these steps to vet sellers before making a purchase:

1. Check the Seller’s Name and Surname

Use Social Bureau to see if there are any records associated with the seller’s name.

2. Verify the Phone Number

Use services like Social Bureau, Whoscall or Truecaller to check if the seller’s phone number has any criminal records.

3. Check the Account Number

Look up the seller’s account number on Social Bureau to see if it’s linked to any fraudulent activities.

4. Review Merchant Feedback

Check reviews of the merchant on social media or other websites. Look for consistent positive feedback and be wary of overly positive reviews that might be fake.

5. Buy from Reputable Merchants

Prefer to buy from merchants with good review ratings and established reputations.

6. Use Secure Payment Methods

Whenever possible, use cash-on-delivery or pay via secure payment networks that offer buyer protection.

7. Keep Evidence

Always keep evidence such as payment slips, chat logs, product information, and payment information.

8. Report Fraud

If you are deceived, report the case to the police and Social Bureau.

Why Use Social Bureau?

Social Bureau is a decentralized crime prevention solution that helps you verify the legitimacy of sellers. Here are the key benefits:

  • Updated Database: Our database is continuously updated to provide the latest information.
  • Ease of Use: The platform is user-friendly, making it convenient to check seller details.
  • Instant Results: Simply input the seller’s name, phone number, or account number to instantly see any criminal records.

By following these steps and using Social Bureau, you can shop online with confidence, knowing you’ve taken the necessary precautions to protect yourself from fraud.

Remember, always vet suspicious sellers before making a purchase. Check their profiles today and enjoy a safer online shopping experience!