Christmas is coming and we know that you would be doing a lot of shopping. Hence, this is the best time to know how to identify a fraudulent online store.
The internet remains the greatest invention of the 21st Century, its importance and impact on the world cannot be overestimated. From every aspect of human interaction and relationships, the internet has made a mark across all aspects of human life.
With it comes the rise in e-commerce and online shopping activities.
However, this comes with a challenge: the rise of fraudsters who pose as legitimate online stores and fleece unsuspecting individuals of their hard-earned cash.
Today, we will show you tips on how to identify a fraudulent online store.
1. Insecure Internet Connection
When you open a website, especially an e-commerce website, the first thing you should look out for is the security of the connection. This can be done by checking the URL of the website, does it begin with HTTPS?
If the website doesn’t, there is a high chance the website is fraudulent and you should be on guard immediately.
You can also ascertain the validity of the website by checking the check out page of the website, check to see if it has HTTPS in the address bar.
Some websites have a locked padlocked icon to show that the connection is secure.
2. Be On the Lookout for signs of cloning
Online fraudsters have gone a step further in luring unsuspected individuals into their clutches by cloning and copying authentic websites.
Fraudsters copy every aspect of the original website most especially photos hence making people believe they are on the original website.
However, regardless of how hard they try, it is almost impossible to clone a website completely, hence be on the lookout for signs of cloning on a website.
Pay attention to the language used, the product description and the quality of the images.
3. Unsafe Payment Methods
It is also important that you pay attention to the payment method used by an e-commerce website you want to patronize.
The globally accepted methods of payments on e-commerce websites include Credit card, debit card, internet banking, Paypal and cash on delivery.
These methods are quite traceable as such you are assured that with a little digging you can know the person who owns and runs the store.
Fraudulent stores, on the other hand, make use of untraceable methods of payment, such methods include Direct Bank deposit, Moneygram, Money Order, etc. If you about to patronize an e-commerce website and the website makes use of such untraceable methods, there is a high chance the website is not authentic.
4. Poor Return Policy
A company’s return policy is one that speaks volumes of how the store runs its business. Credible stores will have a return policy that is easily understandable and easy to grasp for the average person.
If you visit a website and you find the return policy vague and not understandable, try getting across to the owners, if you also find the policy vague even after the owners tried to explain it, You can be certain the website is nefarious and it will be a good idea to desist from shopping there.
5. Poor Reviews
Reviews are not advertisements, they are opinions of individuals who have made used of the brand and service in question and as such in a better position to give much-needed direction to people who need to use the service.
If you decide to do a little research on the website you want to patronize and the reviews you find are generally poor, you can be sure that the website is shady.
6. Trust your guts
So you are on a website and you are there to shop and you have a gut feeling that the site you are on is fraudulent, worst of all, you can’t seem to shake off this feeling.
It will be best to listen to your mind and leave the website. There is probably something your instincts are trying to tell you and it’s better to be on the side of caution than lose hard-earned cash.
No matter how cheap a product looks, how attractive it looks likes or how much you want to have it, it is important that you adopt the tips listed here to avoid being fleeced by online fraudsters.
We hope you have a happy shopping!!!