9 Tell-Tale Signs a Deal Is Probably Too Good to Be True

9 Tell-Tale Signs a Deal Is Probably Too Good to Be True
This article is sponsored by Kyco.

Everyone on this planet is just trying to get by. Most of us are fairly decent, hard-working people just trying to make an honest living any way we can. But if we were all like that, well, there’d be no need for me to write this article, would there?

The world is also filled with people who are happy to rip you off for their own gain. It’s a sad reality of life on the third rock from the sun. Luckily, most of the time, these kinds of morally compromised actors tend to leave some fairly obvious breadcrumbs that betray their intentions. 

We’ve partnered with Kyco, an independent Aussie company “dedicated to making household bills fairer for everyone”, to let you know what to watch out for.

A sense of urgency

A simple psychological trick is to give someone a time limit to decide something. Think websites screaming: “Hurry, this deal is only available for three days” or “only available for the first 100 customers who sign up”. This creates the perfect environment for logic to be thrown out the window and emotion-led decision-making to take its place. Kyco reckons it’s simple to offer a long-term deal, so warns that any site or salesperson pressuring you to make a rash decision is probably hiding something and doesn’t have your best interests as a consumer at heart.

A drastic price reduction

Say you want to buy a chair, it looks nice enough, but at $100, you think to yourself, that’s way too steep. And so, you leave it. Now picture the same scenario, but next to that $100 price tag is an $800 price that’s been slashed. All of a sudden you start thinking you’d be a fool not to buy it. But it’s the same chair, nothing has changed. The sad reality is, so many sites use this technique to get you to buy their crap, whether it’s a chair, a mobile phone plan or even health insurance.

The website doesn’t seem secure

When shopping online, always keep an eye out for the ‘https’ and a little padlock icon on the address bar — this is basically telling you there’s a secure connection between you and the site. This isn’t foolproof, as some scammers can find a way around this, but it is a great start in weeding out potentially malicious websites. 

If it’s the first deal you see

Good life advice in general — never go for the first deal you see. Most of the time, prime position is taken up by ads, and not because of a product’s actual worth. For example, if you’re trying to find a cheaper electricity plan, the top deals on comparison websites could be there because the provider pays the site a huge commission, not because they are the best value for money. If searching for something online, scroll past all the ads and get yourself to the organic results, pronto.

If you can’t find any legitimate sounding reviews

If you see a bunch of reviews that all sound a little too similar, or if you can’t find any reviews at all, then take that as a sign, my friend.

If it’s claiming to do all the leg work for you

There’s no such thing as a free lunch or a free ride — keep this in mind when perusing comparison sites that claim to scour the internet for the best deals. What’s in it for them? They’re not just doing it out of the kindness of their hearts. In fact, they often end up costing consumers more money, rather than saving you money, thanks to the big commissions they charge in the process of ‘finding you the best deals’.

For an Aussie-run alternative that will actually save you cash, check out Kyco, who are able to use their mass buying power to secure the best deals for consumers, and are always upfront with what that costs the consumer.

You’re being asked to use odd or non-secure payment methods

Scammers often try to bypass the security that comes with more traditional payment methods such as credit cards and PayPal, and instead ask you to send a wire, bank, or international money transfer, or even things like gift cards. If the way you’re being asked to pay seems a little suss, then think twice before purchasing.

If the pictures look like stock images

Basically, it’s a big ol’ red flag if the pics of your next great deal look like they were copied and pasted straight from a stock image site.

Suspicious links

Whatever you do, don’t go opening links or attachments from random emails or suspicious sites. Always be dubious when asked to click on links or open attachments from unknown persons or websites. If in doubt, type in the website URL directly or search the company name from your browser. 

For more info, check out consumer watchdog sites like Scamwatch and the ACCC.

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At Lifehacker, we independently select and write about stuff we love and think you'll like too. We have affiliate and advertising partnerships, which means we may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. BTW – prices are accurate and items in stock at the time of posting.


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