There are a lot of legitimate online shopping sites out there. However, there are also some fly-by-night e-commerce sites that look authentic but are knockoffs or total shams.
Security in online shopping has greatly improved over the years however it’s the lack of security encryption and even the lax in regulations that pose some degree of risks to shoppers.
Expectations Vs. Reality
Most people would buy online because it’s convenient, easy, and accessible. It may even be cost-effective because you can shop without ever leaving home, pay conveniently online, and then have it shipped right away.
Well, while all of these online conveniences are accurate, there are some shopping sites that can prove to be a disappointment in some areas. Your expectations may not be met all the time.
There are a couple of risks when buying online such as purchasing items that are far from what was posted online, damaged goods, or buying replicas or fakes when you paid for the authentic item.
Data leakage, phishing, or fraudulent charges are also pressing problems faced by many customers that frequent online shopping sites.
Checking if you are shopping on a legitimate e-commerce site or shop is easy by looking at our quick list that helps you avoid scams and malicious attacks online.
Check Out the Contact Information
It’s very easy to spot a legitimate online shopping site especially if you happen to be a first-time buyer. First off, you have to check the contact details. Do they have a business address, phone number, email address? An extra layer of trust is added if they have active social media accounts or pages that you can check into or follow for promotions or other details. If they have an active Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram page then that would be a great sign that you are shopping on a legitimate site.
Check on Customer Reviews or Feedback
You can easily check on a shop’s reputation judging by what their customers say about their buying experience on the site. You can also check on the business reputation by running a search on the website name and then adding the keywords “scam” or “fake”. You can check out their social media pages for reviews or check Google and Yelp for additional information.
Check If the Website Has an HTTPS and a Padlock Sign
It’s always a good sign to buy from a website with standard site encryption in place. A padlock icon plus the HTTPS sign means that communications are duly encrypted and secure.
Professional Design and Interface
Any e-commerce store would take aesthetics seriously. It makes sense to create an online shop that would look professional yet very intuitive that will make online shopping easy and enjoyable highlighting on elevating the customer or user experience.
However, a website should not just be a pretty face. Check on their content, are these grammatically correct or free from any misspelled words?
Are the pieces and details well-woven together or a clutter? The little details matter TONS! It would be great to compare a new online shopping site with a trusted and reputable site – you’d tell the difference!
Check on the Site’s Privacy Statement
Almost any legitimate online shop will have a privacy statement that details how the business uses, collects, and safeguards sensitive private or financial information.
This would typically be available for you to check on any legitimate retailer. So, if you found one, then that is a good sign that you are dealing with a professional e-commerce site!
Accepts Credit Cards
Only professional and legitimate businesses are certified by credit card institutions. So, if you are checking out a shopping site that does not offer credit card payment options, then it could be a red flag.
Credit cards are always deemed to be the most secure method of making payments online because it would be easier to make refunds for any fraudulent charges or purchases made on your account.
If It’s Too Good to be True – It Must Be Fake!
Online retail stores are always pitted against each other. They are obviously trying to win their customer’s attention and in the effort to oust competition in the online shopping marketplace.
However, deals shouldn’t really be too ridiculous to sound so staged or just dangling the carrot with false expectations.
So, if you are hearing “too good to be true” offers or deals – then it probably isn’t true at all.
For instance, if an e-commerce site is selling a gadget or a luxury item for a price that is way low than the average selling price, then this may be a warning signal for you to steer clear of the offer.
You might actually be paying for a fake or replica item and not the real deal. Don’t give your financial details to shady sites that make insanely low-priced offers because you would end up being ripped off in the end.
Keep Yourself Protected From Online Fraudsters!
The best way to protect yourself from shady transactions online is to choose to deal with or purchase from trusted retailers. There are highly reputable and famous brands that won’t put their names in vain for any purchase amount – these are the brands to trust!
Checking out new or e-commerce startups could be worth it especially when trying out fresh deals. However, you should be diligent enough to make sure you won’t fall prey to any fictitious online shops that lure customers into their scam trap.