Do you think you are doing an incredible job buying a product on the internet?
Are you afraid after completing the transaction, you might never see the color of your merchandise, or otherwise, it might be a counterfeit? Or maybe you discover that your credit card has been used to buy products you have never ordered … These are the risks you incur with fake online stores, financial losses and the transmission of data from your credit card to a crook.
We covered already the general topic of How to spot fake online stores, now we move to ways of protecting ourselves. And beware, spotting a fake online store is not the only thing we have to care about. Maybe you go for a check, but surprise, you’ve got scammed already, because what crooks do is not just selling fake products. So read this article twice, is good for you.
Why such an explosion of cases
The number of fraudulent online shops has exploded since 2017. This situation can be explained for three reasons:
- because the volume of online shopping is growing extremely fast.
- the evolution of technology and falling prices are a boon for criminals. It has become very easy to create a professional e-commerce store in an automated way.
- the crooks have become very adept at curing appearances and giving the illusion of credibility.
These fake sites mainly sell designer clothes, shoes, electronics or even medication at unbeatable prices.
What precautions should you take?
Everyone can fall in the face of these sites more true than true. There was a time when they were easily identifiable, but these times have changed.
1. Beware of too “wonderful” offers
The first common sense would be to be wary as soon as a price is abnormally low, their main bait is an unbeatable offer. It can be explained by some hidden costs such as VAT or customs fees, a counterfeit merchandise or a pure fraud where you will never see the color of the product ordered.
This process is the same used for credit scams between individuals where you are promised huge amounts of money at extremely low rates of less than 3%.
2. A professional-looking website does not guarantee credibility
Some clues like wacky domain names and a bad spelling can betray these fake shops, but beware of misleading appearances, as the new crooks have become professionalized, they have become perfect manipulators. Attention, quality labels are not necessarily a guarantee of confidence.
3. If the online store identity is unknown, find out
Every seller has the obligation to indicate in a clear and complete way his identity and his address of contact, including for the electronic mail.
Here are the good questions to ask yourself:
- Is this online store legal?
- Is his physical address mentioned?
- Who owns the domain name? Does the owner live here or abroad?
- Is there a contact address? Does it end with yahoo, hotmail or gmail?
- Are there any warnings and complaints on the forums? First, enter the name of the site in Google without the domain name extensions. Depending on the results, continue the search by adding on the name of the site the terms “scam, problem, fraud, scam etc.” And see the results.
4. The connection during the purchase process must be secure
When you enter the shopping cart, do you see in the address bar a green padlock with the domain name starting with https? If you see http, it means that the connection is not secure, so danger!
But again, getting a SSL certificate is not that difficult, so https address is also not a guarantee of confidence.
If the seller is unknown, in case of doubt, opt for payment by invoice or payment on delivery, provided that these choices are available!
Read more on the internet about fake online stores: the bargain and the booby traps.
What to do if you have been scammed?
Be careful with your credit card
If you have serious doubts or do not receive the merchant within the promised time, immediately block your credit card.
Check within 30 days after purchase if there are suspicious charges on your credit card statement. 30 days is the deadline for dispute that starts upon receipt of your account (Paypal 180 days).
Who to report the crime
Many victims do not dare to confess to being fooled and do not complain.
3 possibilities are available to you:
- Make a complaint to the police for unfair commercial practices or take civil action for unfair competition.
- Report the case to your local authorities.
- Fill in the whistleblower form on your Federal pr State Consumer body, which will then act on your behalf.
But a local site does not mean that scammers reside in the country. And as the vast majority live outside our borders, unfortunately few victims get compensation, because the judicial procedures are extremely complex and limited. So be careful before paying anything.