Usually, e-commerce is a safe place to shop. However, fake websites and data leaks are still a persistent issue for online shoppers, yet in the past few years, cybersecurity measures have considerably improved where proper security and encryption regulations are made to make internet shopping risk-free. However, there remains a risk of falling for fake products or replicas because there are little online shoppers can do to assess the originality and authenticity of products online. Not to forget there’s always a risk of a security breach on e-commerce stores, which can greatly compromise the security of the personal and financial data of users. However, having said that, there are still ways for online shoppers to assure the credibility and reliability of e-commerce stores when purchasing online.
Here in this blog, we will be detailing some easy to perform checks that can help you avoid falling for malign or ill-secure websites offering fake products online. So let’s start our list of authenticity checks to ensure that the website you are purchasing from is completely safe for online shopping.
There are different signs to find out whether a website is safe to buy from or not. We have enlisted a few of them. Have a look.
Check the “SSL” certificate
An SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layers; it is an encryption method, which provides secure communication over the internet. It stops cybercriminals to access your financial and personal information and make sure that your details are safe and secured.
One way of checking a website with an SSL certificate is that the locked padlock icon must appear in the URL bar.
Another way of checking that website as an SSL certificate is that URLs should start with "HTTPS" instead of "HTTP" which shows that the website is secured and encrypted.
Whether you are subscribing, logging in, or making a payment make sure that the website has an SSL certificate.
The authenticity of a website can be checked by looking at its domain name. Some fake websites have been designed to look exactly like popular e-commerce brands and their official web pages. A good practice for checking a website is to check whether it has a special HTTPS prefix in front of its URL or it just has a normal HTTP prefix.
Make sure that the currency of the site matches with the currency on your bank card or PayPal account. If you are thinking to purchase products worth $500 and then on checking, you find that currency is not matching with your own, stop yourself from purchasing anything there. Check on trust pilot, yelp, and google before purchasing anything on a site. If there is nothing on the webpage of the site which can assure you that they are real or not, never purchase anything from it as there is a chance of an online scam. When making payment for any products make sure to use your credit cards if possible as those do not reveal your bank account details.
The authenticity of a website can be checked by checking its “About Us” page. A fake website usually does not have any description or information about itself. If you find that an e-commerce store has nothing to say about itself, then do not buy anything there. The information provided on the “About Us” page should be true and should not have any discrepancies. Here are some examples that might help you determine if the website is genuine or not.
1) A fake website usually does not have a company name, whereas an authentic e-commerce store has its company details provided on the “About Us” page. If a web store does not provide any information about itself, then it is better to avoid it.
2) The “About Us” page should have a contact number, address and the location of the store. If there is no information about where exactly the company is located or what is its phone number, then better to look for another alternative.
3) An e-commerce store provides a list of products with their price range. If you find that the store does not mention any products or the prices of its items then it is better to avoid buying anything there.
4) The “About Us” page should provide information about who owns the website and how it works. It also provides information on why people must trust their website, how they work with their customers and what is the main goal of starting a website.
5) The “About Us” page should provide information about its staff and what they do to run the website successfully. If a store does not have any information about its staff, then it is better to look for another alternative.
The privacy statement is an important aspect of any website. If you are planning to shop online, you should check out its privacy statement. A detailed privacy statement shows that how a business uses, collects, and protects crucial financial data, if you are not able to find any, then it’s time to think twice while making a purchase.
A website with pop-up ads is usually a scam, they are used by scammers to trap people. Pop-ups also cover the screen of the site where you want to purchase something, if you find it difficult to visit the “terms and conditions” page then quickly move away from that page and also do not purchase anything from that site. Do some research before purchasing something on the internet. Use search engines such as Google and Bing to find out if there are any complaints about that particular store.
In order to make sure that a website is genuine and authentic, checking its customer services can be one of the best ways. You need to find out how efficient they are in solving customers’ problems. If the business lacks a proper customer care policy then it means it has very little interest in maintaining the relationship with its customers.
It is always advisable to check a website's return policy before making any purchases on it. If you are not able to find one, then ask about it in their customer support group before buying anything. A genuine e-commerce store will have an efficient return policy or it makes sure to deliver products as promised.
If you find it difficult to understand a website, then do not hesitate and go for another one that is easy to use. They should also have simple and clear navigation buttons. These are some of the common tricks that scammers use in order to trap innocent consumers. If the design of the website is very appealing and attractive, look out for the fine print and also check what type of products it provides. Sending spam emails is another way to mislead customers and should be avoided.
Now, after the authenticity of the website, let’s have a look at some ways that can help you find out whether or not the product that you are purchasing online is original or not. The first important thing that you need to do is, scrutinize the website for any grammatical errors. If there are several grammatical errors on a website then it shows that it is not worth purchasing anything from such site as they lack professionalism and standards. People who run scams never consider professional standards before launching their websites.
The first thing that you should check is the warranty, whether it is a manufacturing warranty or a service warranty if any. Warranties usually provide an added level of protection to a product. If a website offers a manufacturing warranty then it means that you can claim your money back in case of any manufacturing defect or damage that the product has received during transit.
Authentic business owners always include a physical address and phone number in the header or footer of their websites. If you have any doubt about them, you can copy the address and search on any search engine to make sure that the mentioned address is accurate, and they are actual retailers. Most often unreliable retailers use fake addresses or are available only online to avoid any physical contact.
Credits cards are the most convenient and secure way to pay for items on the internet, as credit card companies typically return money lost in the fraud. Websites that do not take credit cards raise a red flag because fraudulent and phony websites have a difficult time partnering with them.
Another safe and secure way to shop online is PayPal, most trusted e-commerce platforms accept PayPal as a payment option. For those who don’t have a credit card the only option that they have to buy something is PayPal, so if you find out that a website does not support PayPal then you should never purchase anything from them.
Always check out the reviews while making a purchase and try to buy from well-known retailers. Personals accounts and reviews are the best way to remain safe from any scam while purchasing online. Be cautious especially with the websites dealing in designer products or well-known brands for less than their actual prices. It’s also recommended to search for the same item at different sellers to have an idea about the average cost. If you are looking for any particular item that is available on any specific website then do not rush, be diligent before handing over any transaction.
In last, If you follow those simple rules and tips, then you will never fall prey to fake and scam websites.
The first thing that you should do is find out the original website of a product or service. Once you have identified it, make sure to check its authenticity with these methods. Remember, if something seems too good to be true, then it probably is.