Understand as much as possible about the merchandise and how the purchase or transaction regarding the merchandise will work, what your obligations are as a buyer, and what the seller's obligations are. Inquire about all the terms and conditions.
Know what your options are if a problem occurs with merchandise, it's shipment, or the merchandise needs to be returned, exchanged or and if there is a warranty.
Learn as much as possible about the seller, especially if the only information you have is an email address. If it is a business, check the Better Business Bureau where the seller/business is located. Make sure you are purchasing merchandise from a reputable source.
Examine the reviews on the product and the feedback on the seller.
Be cautious of the method of payment the seller is asking from the buyer and where he/she is asking to send payment. Does it make sense?
If possible, purchase items using your credit card, because you can often dispute the charges if something goes wrong.
Be cautious when dealing with sellers outside the United States. If a problem occurs with the transaction, it could be much more difficult to rectify.
There should be no reason to give out your social security number or driver's license number to the seller.
Check out other websites regarding this person/company.
Don't judge a person or company by their website. Flashy websites can be set up quickly.
Be cautious when responding to special investment offers, especially through unsolicited email.
Make sure the transaction is secure when you electronically send your credit card numbers.
Don't give out your credit card number online unless the site is a secure and reputable. Sometimes a tiny icon of a padlock appears to symbolize a higher level of security to transmit data. This icon is not a guarantee of a secure site, but provides some assurance.
Keep a list of all your credit cards and account information along with the card issuer's contact information. If anything looks suspicious or you lose your credit card(s), contact the card issuer immediately.
Be skeptical of individuals representing themselves as Nigerian or foreign government officials asking for your help in placing large sums of money in overseas bank accounts.
Do not believe the promise of large sums of money for your cooperation.