It’s secure shopping or bust!
Online shopping as a pastime is at an all-time high, and most of us have grown accustomed to having anything in as quick as a click. The pandemic we’re in has also pushed brands to set up websites for the very first time, go big on social media or partner with e-commerce platforms in place of operating physical stores.
Even though online shopping brings a world of convenience, it’s important to stay vigilant when doing so. Fraudsters are all over the World Wide Web, and they have become craftier, developing new ways to steal money from unaware shoppers online. (Since you can’t physically check the products you’re ordering, you’ll have to take a look at other signs to avoid falling for an online shopping scam.)
Ahead, learn how to spot fake online shopping websites and identify fraudulent deals. You’ll need to if you want to keep your shopping experience safe and secure.
Bad or Fake Reviews
From shoes, bikes and tools, to equipment and appliances, make sure to check user reviews before hitting “add to cart.” Thankfully, most retail websites allow buyers to rate and share their experiences with their products, which can give you an idea about quality, delivery and shopping journey. If the comments section is overflowing with complaints, it’s best to check out other options.
In addition, you can look at different review platforms outside of the e-commerce website to get a clearer picture of your next potential purchase. Reviews can be biased or faked, so it’s best to look across multiple sources to judge items objectively. If you have friends that have purchased from a particular site, asking them about their experience can benefit you, too.
The Site Doesn’t Use HTTPS and There’s No Padlock in the URL
One way to know if a site is secure is to take a look at the address bar. If the site uses https://, this means that the website employs a form of encryption to transfer data. This feature keeps you safe from hackers. A padlock next to a website’s URL is also another indication (most credible websites already use this feature).
A word of caution: using http:// or not having a padlock doesn’t necessarily mean that a website is a scam. One that has https:// doesn’t automatically make it safe either. Browsers like Google Chrome will warn you if a website is unsecure, so it’s best to look at the different signs of a page’s credibility. To keep you safe, do not enter your personal information on suspicious sites.
Poor Grammar and Spelling
A webpage is an extremely valuable and sensitive asset for any company, so you can expect credible brands to present themselves in the best way possible. If a company’s homepage or other landing pages is rife with spelling and grammatical errors, it may mean that it was set up hastily by a scammer.
Likewise, you should look at a page’s design. If a website is cluttered, uses poor-quality photos and doesn’t have a user-friendly interface, this should raise a little concern.
A Young Domain Age
Noticeably, there are certain seasons when fraud online is more rampant. For instance, scammers love to take advantage of the holidays, when people are planning to spend their savings. A quick fix to this solution would be to check the site’s domain age. Once you know how long a site has been active, it can tell you a lot about its authenticity.
Pro-tip: use DOMAINTOOLS to gain all the information you need about a site.
Unsecure Payment Options
Trustworthy websites only use payment options that are, on their own, safeguarded. If a shopping site requires you to make a bank transfer or any non-refundable form of payment, you’re better off not closing the deal. Even if it’s secure and looks well made, a site that doesn’t allow credit card or payment system transactions will put you at risk of theft.
Stay vigilant out there! Put your trust only in official stores. You’ll thank yourself later for it.
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