How do you know if a website is safe and reliable?
This is nothing new, e-commerce is growing. With the Covid-19 pandemic, it definitely reached its peak. Selling online is one of the mainstays of the Internet and there are currently millions of web shops out there. But there are also many scams. To avoid being scammed, you should learn how to spot questionable sites.
What are the differences between a malicious site and a trusted one?
First of all, it is important to know what are the criteria that differentiate an unsafe website from a completely honest one. It would be quite easy for you, if you are properly informed on the subject, to determine if a site is fake or if the payment is not secure.
How to recognize a fake e-commerce website
Check https protocol
This is perhaps the first reflex you should have when you arrive on a merchant site or on a social network. To locate it, it’s simple, it is in the first position in your search bar. The https protocol is even more important on payment pages. If the acronym https does not appear on the page, leave immediately or risk being robbed.
Check the domain name
Scammers will tend to create “similar” domain names to trick the user into believing they are on a legitimate site, such as cdisc0unt.com or Amaz0n.net, making subtle changes that you may not notice. not even be. Always check the URL to see if you landed on a fraudulent site.
Find the age of the domain
Finding the age of a website domain is easy. Verifying the age of a site gives you the assurance that it has been around for a while. Scam and bogus sites usually have a short lifespan as they are spotted early and shut down by legitimate business site owners and authorities.
Enter the site’s URL into Who.is and find out how long the site has been around.
Check the legal Terms and Conditions
On a commercial site, the Terms of Service are mandatory. They should contain the name, contact details and registration number of the company that develops and owns the website. If you can’t find a “legal notice” page, run away.
Monitor web browser alerts
By default, most web browsers (Firefox, Chrome, Safari, or Edge) activate security features to prevent the appearance of pop-up windows or the downloading of malicious content. If such alerts occur while browsing a merchant site, it may be a fraudulent site. A serious online store would be careful not to frighten its customers with an alert.
Do not trust the reviews on the site
Be careful, it is often the biggest error: customer reviews. If you have any doubts about the authenticity of the website, you can already forget all the reviews you will see there.
Instead, try to find reviews on reliable sites such as Trustpilot for example. If there is a majority of negative opinions, you have to be careful, and if many of them are talking about scams, there is no need to go any further. You can also try typing “site name scam” or “site name reliability”. In any case, go hunting for real reviews.
Monitor bad grammar and spelling
Legit business sites will take great care to have a professional looking site. This is the basis of having correct writing, without spelling, punctuation, or grammar errors. Occasional typos on a website can happen, we’re all human, but excessive errors can mean you’re not on a legitimate site.
Pay attention to the layout
Garish colors, images of different sizes, badly framed photos, the most basic fonts, display errors… For a serious online store, the home page (which is the shop’s window) requires care and pleasant design, not to scare away the customer.
Beware of extraordinary discounts
An item is sold with a 92% discount? Do you have the lowest price in front of you that you have ever seen on all the other websites you have visited? When it’s too good to be true… well, it’s not! You have every chance of being scammed or of finding with disappointment that the final price is ultimately not the one displayed.
The ideal way to minimize the risk of credit card hacking is to create virtual credit cards for each of your payments if your bank allows it. This way, you create a virtual card that you supply with the amount of your purchase, your bank gives you its information (numbers, expiry date, etc.), and if you get hacked, the hacker will only have access to this payment method.
Be vigilant when making the payment
Again, this is seemingly obvious advice, but there are a few things to consider. There are standards in the web world, and you have to find them on merchant sites when making a purchase. In general, the seller must have your double consent before the transaction.
Use A VPN
Using a VPN is now recommended for all types of online purchases, especially when using a new site for the first time, when connecting to a public Wi-Fi network or to a not secure network, but also when connecting from a foreign country.
Even when you shop at a reputable site that you use it on a regular basis, VPN helps protect you from data theft and you can rest assured that your information is secure, no matter the operating system you are using.
You can find more details right here.
Visit the contact page
Review contact fields. If you do not see how to contact them, it’s suspicious.
Examine the presence of the company on social networks
Most legitimate businesses have a social media presence and activity. If you see social media icons on their website, first check to see if they are actually related to the networks in question. Then, if the links are real, see if their networks seem coherent to you, if there are REAL people who interact with them, etc… A good test can be to find real employees of the company on LinkedIn.
Now you know how to detect fraudulent sites, check them and what to do in case of a scam. If you work on the web on a daily basis, these are perhaps reflexes that you already had, and which seem logical to you. But unfortunately, there is a lack of knowledge of the risks among the “novices” of the web, who become perfect targets for predators.