Technology is a blessing and a curse for the counterculture. While the internet has made it easy (and somewhat safer) to purchase a variety of items, it also makes it easy for scammers, law enforcement and other nefarious types to rip you off…or worse.
Below are three tips for spotting a scammer.
#1: Extremely low prices/extensive product list. While some legit vendors offer low prices and great selection, this can also be a sign of a scammer. Exotic or hard-to-find items combined with dirt cheap prices can mean trouble, particularly if illicit substances are offered alongside legal ones in the product list.
#2: Top-ranking search results. While this may seem like a positive thing, many of the sites that pop up when searching for general terms like “research chemicals” and “legal highs” are run by scammers who know how to manipulate search engines to detect their pages. (Even if they’re legit, these sites are often the first to gain unwanted attention from the media…and law enforcement). Avoid like the plague.
#3: Foreign/overseas origin. Some overseas vendors are very trustworthy, but this is not always the case. Pay attention to the country of origin: places like Cameroon or India are rife with impoverished scammers trying to make a quick buck. If asked for hundreds of dollars worth of “insurance” or handling fees up front, run. FAST.
Have you had a run-in with an online scammer? What tips would you give others for avoiding scams?