In view of recent bungles done by E-commerce companies like SnapDeal sending someone two pieces of wood instead of 2 iPhone 4S and FlipKart not sending someone their rightfully purchased USB drives, here are some tips and tricks to keep yourself safe from these online shopping scams. Now we don't know where the issue lies, whether with the company itself, the seller or the courier. We are interested in safe guarding our prized purchase and ensuring we get our hands on the right item. Same thing goes for when we have to sell online. Thanks to all the various classified websites out there, a seller finds a much bigger audience for anything that he/she has to sell, be it an umbrella or car. Most of you reading this are already aware of most of the points, but there is always someone who gets a sour deal. This is 1) Don't be misled by unbelievable pricing. Remember, every business has to earn a profit. If the price is too good to be true, then there is something wrong with it. Investigate, Inquire and check again. Call the customer care if you have to. Don't be in a rush to buy the deal and then regret it later on. Most online E-commerce sites put up the MRP (for which the item never sold in the whole country) and then show a whopping slash of 40-50%. Again, be wise. 2) Check pricing elsewhere. This is one of the boons of online shopping. In a few minutes one can check and compare the prices at many other online retailers. Some offer free shipping, while others have EMI option. Some more might even throw in an extended warranty or the likes. So compare before buying. 3) Read the fine print. Details like Refurbished, open box, used, though rare with online retailers (since they generally have a separate section for them), can still be stealthily inserted by a reseller or an authorised retailer who has a shop with one. Some sellers detail the item condition boldly to ensure there is no confusion. Be sure to check this information. 4) Protect your money. Opt for options like PayPal or Net Banking where possible. Though PayPal may charge a little extra fees for your payment, it is at least better than losing your credit card details to an unknown entity. Your credit card could be misused, putting you in a lot of hassle and unwanted trouble. Oh and you will still have to pay the outstanding amount to the bank until the issue is resolved. 5) COD where available. Cash on Delivery is also a safe option, especially when you can inspect the item in the presence of the courier chap. So that if there is any mix up or missing item, you can raise the alarm right away. Though this might not be available for every location, this does make for a secure way to purchase. Moreover if the item is not as described, you can return it right away, without risking your money anywhere. 6) Use a limited Credit card. If you have to. Avoid using your big credit limit cards for online shopping. This limits the amount of money you stand to lose in the event of any fraud or issue. It also limits your purchasing power, but hey better safe than sorry. I generally use a separate card that has a credit limit of 10,000 INR only. 7) Shipping insurance if available. If the item is really valuable, or if you are shipping an item to a buyer, opt for shipping insurance. So that even if the item is misplaced or stolen, at-least you can be covered for your loss by the courier company. Again read the fine print in the case and ensure you have complete knowledge of how it works. 8 ) Snapshots help. Use the camera in your phone. Take a picture of the packaged item and send it to the buyer, so that he/she knows how it looks like. This will come handy in identifying the item for any signs of tampering. 9 ) Sign for your item yourself. Do not let anyone else sign or collect the parcel on your behalf. If it a valuable item, take the pain to be present when being delivered or let a trust worthy person handle it for you. Better still, collect it from the courier office on your way home if you cannot come to a suitable arrangement. That's about it for now. Feel free to add your points and advise for others below!