How it works
Although many online retailers are genuine, sadly scammers are able to use the secretive nature of the internet in order to rip off unwary customers.
Scammers are using the latest technology to put in place bogus ecommerce websites that act as authentic online retail shops. They can use complex designs and layouts, probably stolen logos, and also a genuine URL domain name and stolen Business Numbers.
Several websites are offering luxury items such as fashionable brands of clothing, jewelry and electronic equipment at extremely low prices. Occasionally you will get the item you have paid for but they might just be fake, other times you might not receive anything at all.
A more recent version of internet shopping scams includes the use of social media channels to set up phony online stores. They open up the store for a short period, often retailing falsely branded apparel or jewelry. Once they have made a certain number of transactions, the store vanishes into thin air. They also make use of social media to advertise their fraudulent website, so do not have confidence in a site simply because you have noticed it being advertised or shared on social media. To help you identify some of the characteristic of a fraudulent online store, we have compiled a list of 6 things you should look out for while shopping online.
1. Examine the URL
Some fake websites have URLs that look exactly like those of genuine websites — at first sight. Before you enter any of your personal data, like your credit card number, do some research on the URL.
If you have used a search engine in order to reach the website, look through the address bar to verify that you’ve arrived on the webpage you needed to.
We suggest that you enter the URL yourself and then be sure to check out any spelling mistakes made. Some cybercriminals are setting up sites that are only one letter off from the actual website, in the hope that you will misspell the URL.
2. Click on the Padlock in the Address Bar
In supplement to analyzing the URL, you’ll need to look for a padlock in the address bar. If you click it, a dropdown box is going to open up that will inform you of security information about the site involving:
- If the certificate is valid
- The amount of cookies being used
- Alternative site settings
A padlock in the address bar normally indicates that the site has been confirmed as secure, like best bonus Canada.
This isn’t foolproof: Some phony sites have had an opportunity to imitate the padlock icon. It is equally true that, even though a ecommerce site is considered to be secure, it might still be able to get hacked.
Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge and other major web browsers have safety checks in place to inform you of whether or not a site is trustworthy.
3. Website Verification
You can verify the authenticity of any website through the use of online verification services:
Go to Google Transparency Report, that could tell you how secure a website is. Once you are on the homepage, simply enter the URL in the “Check site status” box and press the Return key.
4. Depend on Your Browser
If you are keeping your browser up to date and have antivirus software on your laptop or computer, it must let you know when you’ve run through a dangerous website.
If you are seeing a “Not Secure” alert on your screen, go back out of the site or close the page instantly.
5. Watch for a Trust Seal
If you are seeing a trust seal or trust badge on a particular website, it’s not only for decorative purposes. Whether this is from the Better Business Bureau, PayPal or Google, trust seals inform users that they will be able to make safe transactions.
6. Read Through the Reviews
Another excellent way to tell if a website is genuine or not is to read the reviews from several sources. Trustpilot is a review website that allows you to see what actual customers have to say about websites, goods and services.
The site also includes a business transparency page which can give you additional information about the online seller you plan to support.