A large number of people shop online in daily life, spending billions of dollar. There are a lot of different shops on the internet which offer different items. Some sell only some specific items while others sell general items i.e. they sell a bunch of different category items. You get a wide range of stores to shop from. Shopping online is very easy and convenient but in today’s world, it’s also quite risky. There are a variety of stores which are conducting frauds with their customers in different ways. It is quite difficult to identify that the website you are visiting is legitimate or not. It’s a natural question that whether you will be safe after buying from a certain store the first time.
Here we have created a guide for online consumers on how to identify that an e-commerce shop is a fraud.
When you visit a webpage, right-click and view the source code. Professional web developers and designers create sites from scratch and manually. So if there’s a sentence written like “Created with HTML generator plus” you might get aware that something is not good.
In today’s World SSL is not a difficult thing to get for any site. But still, it has some impact because it’s a secure socket layer and saves the data from hackers. Check if the site has valid digitally signed SSL, if the site doesn’t have SSL then there might be something wrong.
Check for the website’s physical address first, check if it’s a valid address. If the physical address is not listed then the store might be a fraud.
Check the store’s contact information. Check if there is a proper complete mailing address rather than just a contact form. Also, try to email them and check if there is any response from their side before giving an order.
Look for payment logos, check for the VISA, MasterCard, PayPal. Check the company’s PayPal address. If possible try to make payment via PayPal rather than credit card as it’s safer.
Take a look on the webpage and see the customer’s feedback. Check the age of the feedback, the name of customer if it’s legitimate or not, as feedbacks can also be given from fake profiles. Browse different review sites like Trustpilot and check for the reviews there also.
Check the store’s social media pages also. See if the store is listed on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest. If not, then the store might be not legitimate.
When you run a store online you need to provide the registrations details of your company with the hosting company, whois an awesome online tool to check up a website’s historical information, if the whois lookup details match with the details given on the website than the store might be safe to buy.
Alexa allows you the check a website’s popularity, i.e. how much traffic is coming, from which country etc. If there is no or less traffic than the store might be new and might be a fraud also.
Check the price of the products/items, compare the same item with other sites or with the manufacturer’s site. If the product is listed in quite a less price as compared with others than are heavy chances that the site is a fraud since nobody can sell the item in $80 if he is buying it in $100.
Check the store’s refund policy, see if it’s beneficial for the customer. If there is no proper refund policy than the site might not be trustworthy.
Check if the website’s IP address is blacklisted or not after looking from whois. If blacklisted the store/website might be a scam.
If a store/website claims that they are doing e-commerce business from 10 years and are the most trusted one, do not trust them directly instead go to WebArchive. It lets you check how the website looked like before and you can identify whether the store is speaking the truth or not.
Check the look and feel of the website, do not directly get attract by the offers instead visit the site first properly. See if the site looks professional or not. See for the images, are they with a logo or without the company’s logo, is the language free from grammatical mistakes.
By following this guide, you might be able to identify whether the site is legitimate or not. These tips do not guarantee that a website is safe, but when combined all the points there are high chances that you are dealing with a real/ trustworthy store.
Here is a list of some e-commerce sites which are conducting frauds and are fooling the customers:
The site copies the content from other websites and has no proper contact information
No proper contact email address. Just a simple contact form
No proper physical address. The map is just an image with quite low resolution
No proper contact email address. Just a contact us form, no direct email address
No, physical address, there is no map, no postal code, even no city or country. You cannot know where the company is.