How to spot fake online stores

Today, (almost) everything is bought very quickly on the Internet, and arrives just as quickly on the doorstep. Products are now available at the click of a mouse, and merchants can easily open an online store and offer their merchandise to audiences around the world.

We’re getting a bit out of our basic line of this website. A few days ago we have published a fresh post – How to avoid being scammed in private loans. This article was not only a success in helping people, but also raised from them a lot of additional questions, one being the general issue: how can we spot fake online businesses? Doesn’t matter what business is that, a loan website, a shoees e-commerce store.. the problem is the same: which ones are legitimate and which one is not?

The interest of commercial portals has not escaped the scammers. They create beautiful professional showcases behind which are hiding real pros scam. The Internet is used to bait consumers in every country, find prey and erase all traces. A person who buys a product in one of these fake online stores and pays for it in advance is almost certain never to receive his item or to review his money. And if the product is actually delivered, which happens sometimes, it is likely that the model will not match the price paid or will be defective and will not in any case offer the promised quality. Before reaching this point, certain criteria can put the consumer attentive on the trail of a fraudulent business.

What impression does the website have?

  • Domain names and spelling. These two criteria make it possible to check the seriousness of an online store. The presence of misspellings and wild expressions in large numbers indicates that the text was generated by a machine translation system. A negligent presentation careless seller. A serious company will ensure that the texts published on its site are of good quality.
  • The label. Check whether the online shop in question bears the quality mark of the Distance Selling Association or Trusted Shops. Check also on these two portals if the online store has obtained the quality label rightly or if the use of the label on the site is abusive.

How to spot fake online stores

Is this a realistic offer?

  • Take the time to check if the exceptional offer really is. Inquire about the seller and any additional costs, such as customs fees or VAT. Even if the Internet offers interesting offers, no distributor provides his merchandise for free. Is the good deal an original article or is it an infringement? If the online store is actually selling counterfeits, report it to the appropriate services.
  • Do not buy products presented as “copy”, “replica”, “in the style of” etc. We must also be wary of a seller who says he can not guarantee the authenticity of the product. This is certainly counterfeit, punishable in some cases for the buyer.
  • Observe the photos of the object with a critical eye. If all the photos of the object are blurred, it’s a safe bet that the seller wants to hide its poor quality. Sick sellers often copy photo material from the original without permission from the manufacturer to give their virtual store an impression of authenticity.

How does the seller behave?

  • When dealing with an unknown seller, beware if the prepayment is the only payment option. By doing this you pay the goods before receiving it. Serious distributors always offer different payment methods, such as payment by invoice, payment on delivery, or payment by credit card or PayPal.
  • Does the online store show the seller’s contact address? Sellers active in electronic commerce are required to clearly and completely indicate their identity and contact address. The absence of legal information including the address, email address and telephone number of the seller on a website is an indication that the online store is misleading. If the seller works with the email address of a free provider, its seriousness must be questioned.
  • Consult the online forums. The duped buyers often talk about their experiences in the forums and warn the sellers not serious. Reading negative or neutral reviews or comments about a seller often makes it easy to conclude an illegal practice.
  • Look where the online store is registered. Launching a Whois search (on, for example) shows whether the seller has an authorized address and whether it corresponds to the legal notice. Be wary of any exotic or anonymous address.