Avoiding scam and deceit

As a consumer, you actually need a sixth sense to identify and avoid deceitful offers. A good measure of vigilance and a critical attitude are crucial.

ECC Belgium gives you 10 tips for identifying and avoiding scam and deceit:

  1. Something that is too good to be true is usually not true. Nobody wins a jackpot or a dream holiday just like that. Even if you really do want to believe it, then do not do it: it is probably scam or deceit.

  2. Be on your guard against an exceptional offer that you must take up immediately. Offers like these turn out not so exceptional afterwards and can even cost more than in a regular shop. Above all, avoid being pressured.

  3. If you are asked to pay any sum of money for unclear or illogical reasons, do not pay it. Avoid payments via money transfer services like Western Union.

  4. Watch out especially for vendors who arrive at your door uninvited. They will take you in with smooth sales pitches and you will be left behind regretfully with a needless product and a bad feeling.

  5. Ask the vendor for his/her fully detailed identity (postal address, VAT number, telephone number, contact details). Anything unclear? Ask for more information and check on the internet too. Perhaps other customers have already given their views about this vendor.

  6. Do not trust blindly in a website in Dutch or with a URL ending “.be”. It does not always mean that the website also has a place of business in Belgium (or in another European country). Neither is the name of an official trademark in the URL of the website necessarily a guarantee.

  7. Always read the standard conditions and contracts. Take your time; do not let yourself be hurried. If necessary, ask for a copy to go through in your own time at home before signing.

  8. Read the small print too, certainly where a ‘free’ product is involved. That is often where the most important parts are. Did you win something? Then you should not have to pay anything to receive it!

  9. Have the courage to say no. It is neither impolite nor improper. If you get an offer, you can always refuse it without being required to explain yourself.

  10. If you have any doubts about the vendor, the business or the actual products s/he is selling, then simply do not buy. Sleep on it overnight first and then seek some dependable advice.