As the popularity of online shopping continues to grow, so do the number of scammers and illegitimate online stores. These scammers are experts at creating fake websites that look almost identical to legitimate ones, to trick people into giving them their personal information or money. So, how can you tell if an online store is legitimate? Here are a few things to look out for:
-The website’s address bar URL should start with “https://” instead of just “http://”. This means that the site is using a secure connection, which makes it less likely for scammers to be able to access your personal information.
-Look for a padlock icon next to the URL. This is another indication of a secure connection.
-Check for reviews of the website online. If there are no reviews or the reviews are all negative, that’s a red flag.
-If you’re asked to pay by wire transfer or Western Union, that’s a sign that the website might be a scam. Legitimate websites will usually accept major credit cards.
-Be wary of any website that offers products or services at significantly lower prices than other similar websites. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is and it might be one of the fake online stores.
If you’re ever unsure about whether or not an online store is a scam site, err on the side of caution and don’t purchase from them. It’s better to be safe than sorry!
Check The Padlock In The Address Bar
When you’re filling in personal details or payment information, make sure there’s a padlock next to the website address in your browser. This means the site is using SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) which encrypts information sent to and from the site.
Verify The Website’s Trust Seal
When you get to the payment page, look for a trust seal. Trust seals are displayed on many legitimate websites and show that the site is safe and secure. Common trust seals include VeriSign, TRUSTe, McAfee SECURE, and Norton Secured.
If you’re unsure about a website, don’t enter your payment information.
Use The Google Transparency Report
If you’re still not sure about a website, you can check the Google Transparency Report to see if it’s been verified by Google. To do this, just enter the website’s URL into the search bar on the Transparency Report page.
Check The Company’s Social Media Presence
A legitimate company will usually have social media accounts on sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. You can use these sites to check for reviews and see what other people are saying about the company.
Do A Reverse Image Search Of Product Photos
If you’re looking at an online store that you’re not familiar with, it’s always a good idea to do a reverse image search of the product photos before you buy anything. To do this, just save the image and then upload it to a site like Google Images or TinEye. This will show you if the photo is being used on any other websites. If it is, that could be a sign that the online store is a legitimate website. You can check the contact page of an online company before you shop online as most legitimate companies and legitimate sites can easily be spotted from there.
Review The Company’s Contact Info
Before you purchase from an online store, review the company’s contact information to see if it’s legitimate. A real company will usually have a physical address listed on their website, as well as a phone number or email address that you can use to get in touch with them. If there’s no contact information listed, or if the contact information is fake, that’s a red flag.
Beware Of Spelling And Grammar Mistakes
Scammers often create fake websites quickly and without much care. This can result in many spelling and grammar mistakes on the site. If you see a lot of these mistakes, likely, the website is not legitimate.
Analyze The Overall Look Of The Website
If a website looks unprofessional or is poorly designed, that’s usually a sign that it’s not legitimate. Legitimate companies tend to have well-designed websites that are easy to navigate. If a website is hard to use or doesn’t look right, be wary of it.
Verify If There Are Company Reviews
When you’re looking at an online store, see if you can find any reviews of the company. If there are no reviews or if all of the reviews are negative, that’s a bad sign. You can use sites like Google, Yelp, and Amazon to find reviews.
How Common Are Scam Online Stores?
While it’s difficult to know exactly how many scams online stores are out there, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) has reported that complaints about them have been on the rise in recent years. In 2017, the BBB received over 10,000 complaints about online shopping scams, which is a significant increase from the 6,000 complaints they received in 2015.
What Are The Consequences Of Shopping At A Scam Website?
If you end up purchasing from a scam website, there’s a good chance you’ll never receive the product you ordered. Even if you do receive it, it’s likely to be poor quality and not at all what you were expecting. In some cases, people have also had their personal information stolen after shopping at a scam website. This can lead to identity theft and financial fraud.
How Can I Protect Myself From Scam Online Stores?
The best way to protect yourself from scam online stores is to be aware of the signs that they’re fake. If you’re ever unsure about whether or not a website is legitimate, do some research on it before making a purchase.
What Should I Do If I Think I’ve Found A Scam Website?
If you think you’ve found a scam website, the best thing to do is report it to the BBB. You can also file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
What Are Some Legitimate Online Stores I Can Shop At?
There are many legitimate online stores that you can shop at. Some of the most popular ones include Amazon, eBay, and Walmart.
Scam online stores are becoming more and more common, so it’s important to be aware of the signs that they’re fake. If you’re ever unsure about whether or not a website is legitimate, do some research on it before making a purchase.