Double Check Websites When Shopping Online: My Funny But Frightening Tale
I like to fashion myself a fairly savvy online consumer. Not only am I able to quickly discern poor phishing attempts but have even foiled a few of the more convincing variety. On top of that, I know a few different things to check when it comes to sniffing out a scam site. That’s why I was a bit taken aback this week when I made a pretty silly mistake while shopping online. Luckily, in this case, there weren’t any repercussions for this misstep… but it got me thinking about how it could have been much worse.
So what exactly did I do? Well, it started with me wanting to use up my $30 American Express Platinum card PayPal credit for May before the month ended. Remembering that I wanted to try coffee from a local Springfield roastery called No Coast Coffee Co. that I saw happened to accept PayPal, I headed to what I thought was their site to explore my options and place an order.
Looking at the site, I quickly found a couple of selections that sounded up my alley. Despite this, I was a little curious about when they had updated their site as it didn’t look quite like I remembered. In the end, I didn’t think much of this and proceeded with my order. Sure enough, the site took PayPal, which made the whole process easy — although I almost backtracked to see if I should have selected local Springfield delivery instead of standard shipping. “Oh well,” I thought and, after placing my order, I closed my laptop and didn’t think about it again for a couple of days.
Later in the week, my wife and I traveled to the other side of town to check out a recently-opened coffee shop. Incidentally, this shop happened to serve No Coast and even had it on the shelf for retail sales. However, I was curious why the packaging in this case looked different from what I had ordered. Surely, there wouldn’t be two coffee companies called No Coast, right? RIGHT?! Um, well, apparently there is. Turns out I had actually ordered from the very differently named (sarcasm) No Coast Coffee Roasters as opposed to No Coast Coffee Co. What’s even funnier is that both call the Show Me State home as the former is located in Kansas City. Hey, I guess it’s good I didn’t go for local delivery after all, huh?
I’m happy to report that No Coast Coffee Roasters is indeed legit and, having received my selections, I can say that they have some good stuff. Nevertheless, while humorous, this incident was a bit of a wake up call for me. Seeing as I’ve grown quite comfortable with ecommerce over the years (and perhaps especially during the pandemic), it would seem as though my attention to detail has slipped some. If I’m not even double-checking the URL I’m shopping at, what other traps could I be setting myself up to fall for?
If you’re like me and are now a bit too comfortable with entering your payment info on sites and making online purchases, perhaps this anecdote might inspire you to be a tad more vigilant going forward. Again, I’m very lucky that I only ended up supporting a different Missouri coffee brand and not, ya know, giving up my identity or getting my bank account drained. Remember: the Internet is great, but it’s also shady AF — so be sure to protect yourself as best as you can.