Guest Blog: 15 Ways to Spot a Beauty Product Scam

Thursday 22 September 2016

Products" (CC BY 2.0) by Nick J Webb
The Internet is filled with millions of beauty products.  While some of these products do work and are made by reputable companies, sadly, there are many that do not work as expected.

In every industry, there is always going to be a scammer waiting to take your hard-earned cash. However, if you know how to spot the scam before typing in your credit card, you can save yourself from a lot of headaches.

To help you beat the scams in the beauty product industry, here are 15 things to look out for:

1. Double check the website URL

Fraudulent websites often have a URL that resembles the major manufacturers' website. However,  these web addresses may have an extra letter or number that you may have missed if you looked at it too quickly.  Always make sure you're at the organisation's official website.

2. Try not to trust the testimonials on the page

Testimonials are extremely easy to fake and scammers know this.  For a few dollars, someone will be more than happy to create a fake testimonial video or even write a few words.  If the testimonial sounds too good to be true, it may be.  Try to get your reviews from reputable websites such as Amazon or a person you trust.

3. Beware of fake magazine articles

Be suspicious of articles that sound like a promotion and mentions the product over and over again. When reading this article, pay close attention to the publisher of the website.

4. Keep your BS detector on

Scam websites frequently make product guarantees that sound too great to be true and highlight individual stories that almost sound fake.  For example, if you're looking at an acne removal product and it claims it can remove your acne in 24 hours, do you think it can really do this?

5. Investigate the site design

In case you're suspicious of any link you land on, go to the organization's primary homepage and note the distinctive site outlines. While the scammers can be great with the page you're on, they don't ordinarily go out their way to create a legitimate homepage with the typical search box, categories and company information.

6. Be an insightful customer

If you do find a product that you believe is good and the website looks okay, search the Internet to see if other people have something to say.  Did other people have a good experience?  Can you find anything at all?  Sometimes, if you can't find any reviews at all, this could be a large red flag.  On the other hand, if you can only negative things, you may want to re-think your decision.

7. Check your virus software

Always make sure that your virus software is up to date because if it isn't, some scammers can install a virus on your computer without you knowing it.  When this rogue software is installed, they can often forward legit websites to one that isn't.

8. Return policy

Most merchants will not offer a return policy or won't even mention it.  This is a warning sign to be aware of.

9. Avoid unsolicited links

Unsolicited links that come from an email or a message board need to be taken with a grain of salt.  Pay close attention to where the link is coming from and the source.

10. Check the grammar

Check the spelling and the grammar on the website.  Frequently, the people who run these websites don't pay close attention to the spelling.  Legitimate organizations will have copywriters and will make sure everything flows and looks professional.

11. Check the contact information

Does the merchant offer a location? In the event that there is no location or it only lists a PO box, you may want to play it safe and go elsewhere.  A legitimate company will have a physical address, phone number and email you can reach them.  Better yet, when you contact them, you should be able to hear a human voice on the other end.

12. Discounts

Be very aware of products that are way too cheap. For example, if you found a product that retailed for $100 and was only $20 on the website you found, this should ring fraud bells.  While you can find deals here and there, anything more than a 60% discount should be closely studied.

13. Hacked websites

There have been situations where real retail sites have been hacked, and when this happened, customers believed they were purchasing from a trustworthy organization.  If you're on the legitimate website and things don't match up, check the company's Twitter or Facebook to see if they have been hacked.

14. Secure payment

Ensure the site address starts with "https" when you're about to pay.  This means the page is secure and your payment information will be encrypted.  Never enter your PIN online and make sure you use your credit card, not a debit card. If you were to use a debit card and it was hacked, they could potentially drain your bank account, and even though the bank could get your money back, it's going to take a lot longer when compared to a traditional credit card.

15. Undisclosed Ingredients

Another popular scam method is when a company won't disclose the ingredients.  Would you eat something if you didn't know what it was?  The same can be said about beauty products, so always make sure you know what's inside.

Disclaimer: This article is contributed by a Guest Blogger. Ping of Health does not give any warranty on accuracy, completeness, functionality, usefulness or other assurances as to the content appearing in this article. Ping of Health disclaims all responsibility for any losses, damage or personal injury suffered directly or indirectly from reliance on such information.