Is The Website Real
You love online shopping. We love online shopping.
But what we love most is safe online shopping. Free of fraud and scam.
So, we've compiled a list of things to look out for when you're browsing the web for your newest find because it shouldn't cost you more than it says on the price tag.
1. The Padlock Can Be Deceiving
In the good old days, it was enough for a website URL to have an SSL certificate (that's the padlock in the address bar) and start with HTTPS, but that's no longer the case. Fraudsters can now obtain a lock for their website within seconds, so you cannot rely on this feature alone.
Typically, you should be able to click on the icon, and it can take you to a separate page to verify that it is legitimate rather than a copycat, but this can also be forged. If you feel like you're on a scam website, we advise exiting immediately rather than going on a detective mission!
2. Viruses Exist Online Too
Most websites use ads. It's entirely normal to do so. But there shouldn't be so many ads that it's interfering with your user experience (we're talking to you Youtube!) If there are tens of pop-up ads making it hard to use the website, they may be trying to catch you out. Websites allow you to block ads, but the best thing to do is get an anti-virus software, they're pretty popular, and pricing is competitive.
3. Grammar and Spell-Check
Hey! There's nothing wrong with a few errors! Despite popular opinion, content writers aren't perfect... but a lot of spelling and grammar errors can indicate that a website was rushed into launching so that they can take your money and then disappear.
This alone isn't a massive red flag unless it's hard to read the website because of the errors, but it can be used in conjunction with our other tips to keep yourself safe from time-efficient fraudsters!
4. Be Honest, Is It Really A Good Deal?
Some deals really are too good to be true. If you're getting a complete dining set for £20, you might want to manage your expectations and prepare yourself to receive barbie furniture! If anything at all arrives... Scammers want you to be so wowed by their offer that you purchase without fully considering the purchase. This is where reading reviews comes in handy!
5. Other people will tell you if they had a bad shopping experience!
Not only will this tell you whether the product that you want to get is as pictured and well-produced, but it will also tell you if other shoppers had a good experience! Make sure to look for reviews placed outside of the website you're shopping for, as scammers can alter, fake or delete reviews!
6. What is the refund policy?
Legitimate sites will display a full refund policy along with the terms and conditions for a refund. Scammers will often skip these pages as they're not planning on upholding the policy anyway, and it can be time-consuming to the right and add as a website page
Even if the website is legit, it is a good idea to check the refund and return policy to ensure that you're going to be looked after even post-purchase.
7. Always Pay Securely
You should be offered more than one payment option. If a site is only letting you use your debit card, this could indicate fraud. If you're shopping from them for the first time, you can use a second-hand service like PayPal, which has buyer protection and holds the funds of non-reputable sellers who have a history of fraud or haven't made enough sales yet.
8. URL Inspection
The URL is the first giveaway of fraud and can save you a lot of trouble in the long run. Scammers tend to imitate legitimate websites so look out for extra words, punctuation or typos when typing in a URL (does anyone still do that?) Try to go through the link of a verified social media page or double-check that the URL is the same as the one you've used before!
We have to stress that no one of these points alone will indicate that a website is fake, and there are ways around all of these for criminals. But they are unlikely to do all of them at once. So, if you feel unsafe shopping on a website, don't. The market is saturated; there will be others like it. Stay Safe!