how to identify fake shopping websites

Aura’s app keeps you safe from scams, fraud, and identity theft. Most legit businesses have some sort of social media presence as it serves as one of the best ways to advertise their products and services. If an online retailer doesn’t have an overt social media presence—or the social media icons displayed on their site lead nowhere—the chances of it being fake are high. Instead, make sure you look up the price history of the goods you want to score in a sale. Then, check how much each item is going for on other sites running similar offers. A good rule of thumb is that if a site advertises prices that are 50% off and above, you should take the necessary steps to confirm it’s not fake.

Some fake websites can even infect your device with malware or trick you into buying non-existent or counterfeit products. Additionally, there are measures you can take to ensure you are protected if you do stumble upon a fake website. Keeping your software and antivirus updated will offer some protection against malware attacks. Using a high-quality VPN like ExpressVPN encrypts your traffic and hides your IP address, so the site won’t be able to identify you. And using a credit card rather than a debit card will provide some degree of protection against losing your money to a fraudulent transaction. If you’re charged for an item you never received or that is not as described, you can dispute the charge with your credit card company.

how to identify fake shopping websites

On the surface, it’s difficult to tell a scam website from an official one. But by following a few simple steps and looking for red flags, you can avoid giving up sensitive information or money to scammers. In an effort to look more legitimate, scammers often post fake reviews on their websites.

VPN tests: How to check if your VPN is working

Before you enter any of your personal information, take time to study the URL. The dangers of malware infection depend on the type of malware. If you’re lucky and hackers only install adware on your device, you’ll see many unwanted ads. However, if a site is secure from third parties, it doesn’t mean it’s safe overall.

how to identify fake shopping websites

There is no way you can secure yourself from fraud in these circumstances. If a website does not have card or net-banking payment options, stay away from it. As said before scammers who create fake shopping websites thrive on deal-hungry customers who don’t look for anything except deals and discounts listed on the website.

Use reputable price comparison tools

First off, let’s define what a fake website is because knowing is half the battle. Fake shopping websites usually try to force you to pay for goods using non-reversible and non-traceable payment methods. Since many fake websites will impersonate a legitimate company, you can also report the scam website to the company it’s impersonating. If you take a real website and its fake copy, another clear difference could be the domain age.

  1. To ensure they comply with the laws surrounding consumer protection rights, reputable retail brands are transparent about their return and refund policies.
  2. As said before scammers who create fake shopping websites thrive on deal-hungry customers who don’t look for anything except deals and discounts listed on the website.
  3. And the source of their links can be the best indicator that the website is a fraud.
  4. Visit our Report cybercrime page to find the links for reporting cybercrime in different countries.
  5. Another way to look for in a shopping website is to scrutinize their social media accounts and the reviews on them.
  6. Plus, there are no pesky salespeople asking if you need assistance every 42 seconds.

While the URL does look like it’s coming from the real Michael Kors online shop, it’s not. The lengths that these scammers will go to is shocking, and if you click the link (and don’t have browser protection), you’re in trouble. Online shopping has revolutionized the way we buy goods, offering extraordinary convenience and a vast array of choices. Yet, as we indulge in the digital marketplace, lurking in the shadows are cybercriminals eager to exploit our trust. The rise of online shopping scams is alarming, and cyber thieves are constantly refining their tactics. So what can we do in a world where fake websites are becoming increasingly sophisticated?

Most website links come from somewhere – search results, social media sites, friend messages, you name it. And the source of their links can be the best indicator that the website is a fraud. Along with the fake online stores, you can find pages that pretend to sell tickets, usually way cheaper than the legitimate seller. But it won’t grant you entrance anywhere because the ticket will be as fake as the website. Retailers want to provide their customers with a satisfying experience, which is why they make it easy to contact them in case you have an issue. Internet shopping frauds, on the other hand, want nothing more than to take your money and run.

Read the shipping and return policy

The bad news is that you may not get your money back — especially if you paid with bitcoin or wire transfer. But the good news is that you can put the bad guys out of business by reporting them to the Federal Trade Commission or the Better Business Bureau. And while it’s not the same as putting them behind bars, it throws a serious wrench into their fraudulent operation. Customer reviews can offer up a goldmine of information about a company — even legitimate ones — like the quality of customer service and refund policies.

Just pop the URL into the search bar, and Google will give you an assessment of the site. For customers in the U.S., the company’s legitimate URL is However, there are dozens of copycat sites pretending to be the official site by slightly altering its domain name—including the highly suspect, vivobarefootoutlet[dot]us. So what can you do to avoid a scam online retailer in the first place? The steps I’ll share here come from my research as well as advice from money expert Clark Howard.

” The Better Business Bureau’s Scam Tracker website is also a great place to check for negative reviews about a company. Enter the website’s URL and you’ll be able to see details such as the owner’s organization name, country of registration, and age of the domain. It’s probably a fake website if the company claims to be registered in the United States, but their Whois Lookup query shows that they’re in another country. Fake websites are everywhere  and they’re getting harder to spot. Here’s how you can make sure that you’re not dealing with a fraudulent website.

What to do if you’re a victim of a fake shopping site

If you’re unsure about a site, click on the padlock and then check any additional information about the security certificate. If you have been scammed by a fake website, you can report it to the authorities and to the brand of the item you bought. You may also be able to get a refund from your credit card company. Fake websites can be very convincing, so it is important to be aware of the signs and take precautions to protect yourself. If you think you may have visited a fake website, it’s important to take steps to protect yourself.

The legitimate PayPal website was created in 1999, while fake copies only survive a few weeks or months. And it’s not just PayPal copies – most fake websites are taken down sooner rather than later. Whether they ask you to pay for an antivirus or they give it to you for free, the download is malware in disguise. Instead of removing non-existent viruses, it infects you with real malware. Since you can’t rely on antivirus or browser protections to alert you that you’ve stumbled upon a fraudulent site, you’ll instead have to perform your own website scammer check.