How to identify a fake eCommerce website?

2018/10/17

Every day millions of people are researching for the best value offers online. Some of these are incredibly attractive drawing to impulsive buying and disappointment. Here are 5 tips on how to spot a fake eCommerce website.

1. Personal data security

The last step before purchasing an item online is entering personal details such as credit card number, home address and any other relevant contact information. Often, people enter their details, because they are so excited about the offer, especially if it has a countdown, but forgets to check whether the website is legit. The first sign of a reliable eCommerce website is Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encoding certificate. It can be easily identified by checking whether the URL begins with https: // and has a padlock symbol next to it. If it does, your personal information will be protected.

2. Credible information

A good way to check website’s credibility is to start browsing through the pages on the website and reading information such as company history, descriptions and contact information. If you come across an email ending hotmail.com or gmail.com or even an international telephone number, this is a massive warning sign that you should not trust the store. Additionally, look through their privacy and returns policies as it is required by law to have these documents. If you cannot find it, do not even bother purchasing from this eCommerce website.

An evaluation of product’s images is another way of identifying website’s credibility. If images seem blurry, unclear, unprofessional, poor quality with suspicious writings, it is highly possible that images are stolen, and you should not trust this seller. You can also contact the seller asking questions about the product and if the answer is abstract, inaccurate or there isn’t any reply at all, you shouldn’t be taking a risk.

3. Incredibly low prices

Timberland boots only 20 €! You’d think it’s a great deal, but does it seem realistic? It might also have reasons for the offer such as ‘’unique’’, ‘’limited stock’’, ‘’limited time only’’, but remember well-known brands have their standards and prices are usually much higher. Even though it would be amazing to get a famous brand’s item at incredibly low price, it is probably a scam.

4. Payment methods provided

You have checked the website and decided to purchase the item. The next step you should be taking is evaluating the payment methods seller provides. Remember, always select a payment gateway you trust the most. If your usual payment method is unavailable, ensure website has icons such as “Verified by VISA” “MasterCard SecureCode”, etc. Also, if available, select an option to pay upon items arrival as it will allow you to protect yourself from a scam.

5. Online reviews

It is always valuable to read online reviews about a certain website. Reviews can be found on various platforms such as Google, Facebook, Indeed, Web of Trust, Google Play, App Store, etc. However, always remember some sellers do create fake reviews, so you must be careful and read it critically.

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