How To Avoid Being Scammed When Shopping Online

How To Avoid Being Scammed When Shopping Online

Online buying is now a daily reality for many Kenyans. The well-developed digital framework in Kenya has made the transition to internet purchasing smoother. New online stores are popping up every day.

The challenge with the transactions is the trust element. The buyers and sellers seem not to trust each other. Discussions on payment are a hot topic and usually take the following forms.


  • Pay On Delivery

Buyers prefer this method. They are trying to avoid paying for goods they may never receive.

Sellers don't like this method. Stories abound of buyers who disappear with goods upon delivery. Some third-party courier companies offer to follow up on payment in such circumstances to shield sellers from fraudsters.


  • Pay In Advance

Sellers prefer this method. Some feel it's a show of how serious the buyer is.

Buyers do not like this method as they have no control over the transaction. We hear stories of purchases never received.


  • Make A Deposit

Many see this as a win-win situation. The risk feels lower. Even then, some people experience fraud using this method.

Some people set up fake business social media pages, ask for deposits, then go quiet. Reporting the pages does not necessarily resolve the issues. Many people give up on following up, taking it as a lesson learned.



The impact of the negative experiences by buyers and sellers is a reduction in possible online transactions. Rent-a-shelf businesses thrive because of the underlying mistrust. Business-wise, it translates to an additional cost.

Also, it means a higher barrier to entry as a business person must find a solution that works for their target market, which sometimes translates into additional operational costs. How can online shopping be structured so that buyers and sellers are comfortable with the process?



Escrows are a solution to this dilemma. The framework introduces an independent third party. Buyers send the money to the escrow.

The seller receives the money once the buyer confirms the delivery is in good condition. The escrow charges a fee for acting as a middleman. Escrow Kenya is a company that provides such a service.

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