7 Tips To Spot a Counterfeit Website and Stay Safe from Online Scams
The more the business and the economy boom, the more online fraud there will be. The con game is almost as old as time since humans started exchanging things. On one hand, evolution of the Internet brought convenience in shopping and banking. While on the other hand, it also brought along its fair share of new risks. Although, there are sensible steps that we all can take to stay safe online, there is an unfair burden on the public with the constant rise in fraud levels.
With the technological advancement, it can be tough to know which website is fraudulent. Cybercriminals and fraudsters have become extremely good and cunning at creating such convincing sites.
Listed below are seven ways you can stay safe online.
1. Double check the domain name
A lot of counterfeit websites choose domain names that are similar or have references to a well-known brand name.
Consider www.discountcoachbags.com or www.iphoneoffer.com -- websites like these should ring alarm bells.
Also, be cautious of the domain extension used in the web address. For instance, .NET stands for ‘network’ and .ORG stands for ‘organization’ — these domain extensions are not necessarily the right choice for an eCommerce website. .STORE or .COM, on the other hand, are a lot more relevant.
2. Check the offers — are they too good to be true?
When you see ridiculously low prices or heavy discounts that seem too good to be true, they probably are. Counterfeit websites use low prices for famous brands to lure bargain-hungry shoppers. The items advertised on these sites are often either fake, counterfeit or non-existent.
Consider these tips to identify if a deal is legitimate one or a scam.
3. Avoid paying by bank transfers
Be wary when the only payment choice available is online via a bank transfer. Relevant websites will give other payment options too such as debit/credit cards, e-wallets or cash-on-delivery. If you buy something fake using a debit/credit card, there are still chances for you to get your money back. However, with bank transfers, those chances are close to zero.
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4. Browse the website thoroughly
Spend some time going through the website. Check the ‘about us’ page and other pages and read the text there. Watch out for spelling and grammatical errors or phrases that don’t quite sound right. These are signs that the website isn’t genuine and was put together by a fraud trying to make a quick buck conning people.
Another element you can watch out for is the contact information. Reputable and legitimate websites will always list down ways to get in touch with them. If the site doesn’t give any specific contact information such as physical place of business, a phone number or email id, then it could be an indication of a dubious website.
5. Look out for the return policy
6. Check out for reviews
Look out for reviews not only on the website but also on other consumer forums. Make it a point to check several review websites to avoid getting influenced. Also, pay attention to the kind of reviews that are shared.
Are they all oddly similar?
Are the reviewers all new or same across websites?
You should also check out their social media pages and see the conversations going on there.
7. Look for the SSL certificate
An SSL certificate stands for Secure Socket Layer which is an investment that the business makes in order to secure the data of its customers, especially credit/debit card details. Almost all reputable websites show a green padlock next to the website’s URL. This is a sure-fire sign that the website is trustworthy. However, this step must not be your only metric to check for the website’s relevancy. This check should be used in tandem with other checks.
The Internet is a magnificent place and you can use it for a countless number of worthwhile and profitable activities. But much like anything else in life, it has its share of dangers and it doesn’t take a lot to be a little careful to stay protected.