TikTok recently launched a new online store, TikTok Shop. Before you shop, check out these smart online shopping tips to avoid scams on the new platform.

TikTok is a social media app with a reputation for trendsetting, and many small businesses already use the platform to advertise their products. More than half of TikTok users have bought something after seeing it on the app.

Now, with TikTok Shop, users can view shoppable videos and livestreams that allow them to buy products through TikTok. Both individual sellers and larger brands can sell products through the new “Shop” tab on the app.

With any new service comes the potential for scams – but especially an online shopping service, where it can sometimes be hard to tell whether a seller is trustworthy.

While it’s great that TikTok Shop makes it quick and convenient to make a purchase, you should always stop and take a moment to check out a seller before you buy anything. TikTok says it vets its sellers and removes products that violate its Terms of Service, but scammers can sometimes slip through the cracks, selling faulty, fake or non-existent products.

Here’s how to use TikTok shop safely:

• Research the seller before you buy. Just because you see a product on TikTok doesn’t mean it’s legit or that the seller is trustworthy. Do your research:

• Read comments and reviews. User comments and reviews are a great way to get a pulse check on new sellers. Check for any negative experiences. You can also use TikTok’s search bar to check to see if previous customers have uploaded videos of the products they purchased.

• Check the seller’s website. Check for red flags of a scam website. Read reviews on the website if they’re available.

• Check businesses with BBB. At BBB.org, you can search information about a business’ track record and their BBB rating to determine whether it’s safe to shop with them.

• Check out the platform hosting the sellers. If you can’t find information about every individual seller, it can help to read about the app or website that hosts them (in this case, TikTok) to see if customers generally have good experiences.

• Protect your personal information. Read a site’s privacy policy before you shop – you can find TikTok’s here. TikTok also provides information about safety and purchase security in its press release about the new TikTok Shop. Always set strong passwords for your social media accounts, and avoid sharing personal information with strangers.

• Know the return policy. TikTok Shop’s return policy states that customers have 30 calendar days after a package is delivered to request a return or refund.

• Check if sellers are verified. If someone is selling brand-name items at outrageously low prices, it might be a scam. Check brand accounts to make sure they have a blue check mark symbol – this means TikTok has verified the account owner is who they say they are. Remember that if a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.

• Think before you buy. It’s great that TikTok shop is so convenient, but if you rush to buy something cool from a video, you might not stop to notice red flags. Pause before you buy and follow the above tips to make sure the seller and product are legitimate.

• Shop with a credit card. This makes it easier to dispute a transaction if something goes wrong.

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