The internet and other technological advances have made our lives easier. But it has made us more vulnerable to cyber-threats. Online shopping is convenient, but it can be difficult to verify the shop’s legitimacy. These online sites can easily defraud you and act as a gateway for identity theft. Use caution on these sites. Check if the online store is legitimate on an online shopping directory. Fortunately, we can avoid falling victim to certain scams by being aware of them.
However, there are other ways to tell if an online store is genuine.
A genuine store’s website will have contact information. If the company only provides a web contact form with no email or phone number, be wary of scams. If you are buying for the first time, don’t hesitate to contact the shop to confirm that they are legitimate.
Check the URL
Some fake websites have URLs that look identical to legitimate websites. Examine the URL before providing personal information such as credit card or social security numbers. If you came to the site via a search engine, check the URL bar to make sure you got there.
The best method is to manually type the URL and double-check for errors. In some cases, fraudsters create websites that are only one letter different from legitimate websites.
Check the online shop’s website for customer reviews. Search for the website’s name plus “scam” or “fake” in a search engine if unsure. You’ll learn quickly if others had bad experiences and should avoid them.
The padlock icon
A padlock icon (address bar) indicates that the URL has been encrypted. When you click on this icon, a dropdown box with security information appears. The data includes the website’s settings, cookies, and certificate validity. If the “Https” has no “S” The website is not secure. This means that any communication (personal information, website choices, and passwords) is not private and is open to outsiders. Avoid these sites. However, web addresses beginning with https are secure and private.
Check on Google Chrome.
Google has created a quick tool to determine a website’s safety. Hackers have been known to compromise legitimate websites. Input the URL of the website you’re on now into the Google transparency report page to check for issues.
Online verification services can verify the legitimacy of any website:
Enter the website’s URL into UrlVoid.com. Then you can see the site’s details. UrlVoid.com generates a report and checks the website against multiple lists for any red flags.
Visit Google Transparency Report to see a website’s safety. Once on the homepage, enter the URL and hit Return.
Social media presence check
Most reputable businesses are active on social media. If you see social media icons on their website, verify that they are genuine.
Vague refund policy
Returning an item should be easy. The customer and the brand are protected by reputable websites that allow returns or exchanges and have a full return policy online. Always read this before making a purchase, and if you can’t find a policy that covers this, don’t use this website at all.
Cybercriminals and scammers are constantly devising new ways to deceive even the most sophisticated browsers. When shopping online, always heed cybersecurity warnings and proceed with caution if something seems off.