How to detect purchase scam and protect yourself from it

Region: Europe
Jun 24, 2024, 9:41:32 AM Published By Wirex Team

Purchase scams, a growing threat in the digital landscape, have cost the UK a staggering £67 million in 2022 alone.

Today, we are going to equip you with essential information to recognise, avoid, and protect yourself from falling victim to purchase scams.

What is a purchase scam?

Purchase scams involve fraudsters selling non-existent products at irresistible discounts, luring unsuspecting buyers into making payments for goods that will never materialise. The ultimate goal is to trick individuals into surrendering their money, personal, or financial details in exchange for what appears to be a "good deal."

Red flags to look for

  • Prices are surprisingly low: If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. Scammers often use enticingly low prices to attract victims.
  • Spelling errors in ads or URLs: Legitimate businesses pay attention to details. Spotting spelling errors in advertisements or URLs can be a telltale sign of a scam.
  • Limited information on new websites: Be cautious when dealing with new websites that lack comprehensive information. Genuine businesses provide clear details about their products and services.
  • Urgency and pressure tactics: Scam websites often pressure users to act quickly by creating a sense of urgency, such as claiming that a limited number of items are available or stating that a high number of people are viewing the same item.
  • Shopping on social media: Exercise caution when making purchases directly through social media platforms, as scammers exploit these channels to deceive unsuspecting consumers.

Tips to protect yourself

  • Trust your instincts: If a deal seems too good to be true, it's safer to pass on it.
  • Avoid unverified users on social media: Refrain from trusting unverified users with little or no personal profile information on social media platforms.
  • Be sceptical of unknown attachments or links: Scammers often use phishing techniques through email or messages. Avoid clicking on unknown attachments or links.

What to do if you've been scammed

If you realise you've fallen victim to a purchase scam and haven't received the goods, take immediate action.

  • Contact your bank or credit card company: Reach out to the financial institution that issued your credit or debit card. Inform them of the fraudulent charge and request a reversal of the transaction to recover your money.


Arming yourself with awareness and following these guidelines will significantly reduce the risk of falling prey to purchase scams. Stay vigilant, stay safe, and enjoy secure online shopping!