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Rajiv Singha

Spot Fake Online Shops – Stay Safe from Scams

November 19, 2013
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Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Online shopping is no more an alien concept. Nearly everyone who spends their time on the Internet, prefer shopping online. But as convenient as online stores are, they can be a scary place too. You never know if the Web site where you are giving away your credit card information is a genuine or fraudulent. In this blog, we have shared some tips to help you tell genuine e-commerce Web sites from the fake ones.

 spot_fake_online_shops_from_real_ones

Grammar
You might find it silly, but if you do a little bit of digging, you will find that fake online shops do not put much effort into their Web content. If you find that the content describing the item you plan to purchase or of the overall Web site is grammatically poor, then you may want to pause and do a little more research on the Web site.

Date of Inception
Checking with the Web site’s date of creation is also a good way to scrutinize it. If a Web site is only a few weeks or a month old, then steering away from it would be wiser. Web sites that have been on the Internet since long, are generally trustworthy. You can visit the Whois section of InterNIC’s database. Here you can find information such as a Web site’s updated date, creation date, and expiration date.

The Checkout Section
Alright, let’s say that you fond the content of the e-commerce site clean and professional, the Web site is pretty old too. But you should not judge its legitimacy based on only these two factors. There’s one more crucial check that you have to run. When you finally make up your mind to buy something and land on the checkout section, take a look at the Web site’s URL. Does the URL start with https? If no, then consider yourself in a ‘I-will-get-in-trouble-situation’. Hit the Back button, or even better, close the Web site. A secure website’s URL should always begin with https and it should also have the “pad lock” icon, as shown below.

secure-website-browser

Payment Service
The primary aim of cybercrooks is to steal your money. So, it is only logical that you also play Sherlock Holmes to find out about the payment service your online shoppe uses to accept payments. If your findings reveal popular services like PayPal or other trusted services, then odds are, the site is legit. If the payment service is unidentifiable, then you need to extend your investigation before giving away your credit card or bank account information.

Ease of Navigation
Trusted and legit e-commerce Web sites or any Web site for that matter, put in a lot of effort to ensure that users get what they are looking for. So, if your online shopping site has limited functionality, messed up navigation, looks crappy and unprofessional, and shoots out errors every now and then, and that should raise an alarm.

Prices and Discounts
Love may come without a price tag, but good things are pricey. And even if they are not, at least they are not dirt cheap. If the online shop you are on, claims to throw in a PSP or a brand new iPhone for like $20, then hold your horses. No company as big as Sony or Apple, in their right mind, would start doing such social service. So, if you think a product’s price is too good to be true, then go with your instincts and verify the same from other sources.

Use the Contact Us Section
You can still dig deeper to determine if an online store is legitimate or not. Give a call at the number provided in the contact information or drop an email message at the email address, if any. If you reach an automated voice messaging system or your email is not replied to or a long time, then that should raise your eyebrows about the genuineness of the Web site. Having said that, before calling any number, Google it once. You may have heard about scams that trick victims into calling premium-rate numbers. You can read all about it in this post.

Google the Company’s Name
Google the name of the company that owns the online store. It is most likely that the company’s URL would show up in the first position, and even in Wikipedia. You might also come some reviews about the Web sites, depending on how popular it is. Fake or sketchy e-commerce Web sites, usually do not get such privileges.

Terms and Conditions
Terms and conditions may be the last piece of content that anyone would like to read on any Web site. But going through the part that talks about payment, returns, refund, exchange, etc., does make sense. Shady Web sites are not transparent about return or refund policies; and why should they be, they need your money don’t they?

You can read our post on pharming, where we have listed some helpful tips on how to do safe online banking.

Cybercrooks are always on the look out to scam unsuspecting and unaware shoppers, and steal their money. It is crucial that you know if the online store you are shopping from is genuine or just another scam trap. So, before you go all gaga over a heavily discounted wrist watch or phone on an online store, just conduct a quick scrutiny using the above tips. And just to be sure that fake or fraudulent Web sites do not trick you, Quick Heal’s Web protection is at your disposal.

Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments.

Rajiv Singha
About Rajiv Singha
Rajiv is an IT security news junkie and a computer security blogger at Quick Heal. He is passionate about promoting cybersecurity awareness, content and digital...
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42 Comments

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  1. I got this mail on my email id…

    भारतीय रिजर्व बैंक
    India’s Central Bank
    Reserve Bank of India regional office, Delhi,
    Foreign Remittance Department.
    New Delhi: 110 001, India,
    6,Sansad Marg.
    Email: rbi-pendingfundsdepartment@admin.in.th

    Attention Beneficiary,

    The sum of £ 500,000 GB Pounds Pending fund has been released on your
    name by the new RBI Bank Governor Dr. Raghuram Rajan , the Foreign Remittance Department
    Mr. Michael Morrison and The World Health Organization Dr. Margaret Chan ( W.H.O ).
    For immediate registration, moralities and transfer of the stated amount into your personal
    bank account send:-
    1. Full Names: 2. Date Of Birth: 3. Sex: 4. Address: 5. City: 6. Occupation: 7. Marital Status: 8. Mobile Number: To Emil: rbi-pendingfundsdepartment@admin.in.th
    to our Foreign Remittance Department Mr. Michael Morrison for immediate registration/transfer of your fund into your personal bank account in your locality.
    For any Question or Difficulty you are to contact your Account Officers only through :-Mr. Michael Morrison:- Mrs. Pooja Mishra:-

    Warm Regards,
    Mrs. Pooja Mishra
    Mr. Michael Morrison

    Dr. Raghuram Rajan
    Reserve Bank Of India Governor
    © Reserve Bank of India. All Rights Reserved

    Reply
    • Hi Shalini,

      This is a classic example of phishing scams that target unsuspecting users. Never reply to such emails, download attachments from it, or click any links that might be present in it. Also avoid calling any numbers present in the message. Simply delete such emails.

      We would like to reiterate the fact that no bank would ask for such personal information over emails or phone from its customers. If you keep receiving such emails, then kindly report it to your bank.

      Thank you for sharing your experience with us.

      Regards,

      Reply
  2. Thanks a lot for making a layman like me understand.
    Excellent write-up.

    Reply
  3. The comments are good / educative and do give a important that check the url which is normally not looked into

    Reply
  4. Hussain ShaikFebruary 9, 2014 at 2:33 PM

    Worthy Information.

    Reply
  5. Idiatime online shopping is fake or not.

    Reply
  6. Rahul SinghMay 1, 2014 at 6:24 PM

    Recentaly i got a call from http://www.mera****get.com/view/contest1100
    they are saying that i have won SAMSUNG LED tv for just Rs 1100.
    is this a fake or not.

    Reply
    • Hi Rahul,

      It is safe to assume that this could be a fake call, especially if you have not participated in any kind of contest for that matter. Have you verified this with any other sources? Until you do so, we would advise you not to call back on that number.

      Regards,

      Reply
  7. DEAR BROTHER
    I HAVE DOUBT ABOUT a2zKART.COM SITE, I HAVE PURCHASED ONE ITEM FORM THERE A HUGE OFFER, BUT NOW I SCARED ABOUT THE ITEM IS DUPLICATE OR NOT .
    CAN YOU HELP ME BROTHER?

    Reply
    • Hi Akhil,

      We cannot advise you on the originality of the items you have purchased. However, below are some steps you can follow to verify if the website is fake or genuine:

      1. Call their customer support number or write to them at their email address
      2. Check if the site’s URL begins with ‘https’. Most popular and safe websites have their URLs beginning with https
      3. Use the Google SafeBrowse report. Type “http://google.com/safebrowsing/diagnostic?site=” before the site’s URL
      4. Go through the Terms and conditions of the site including its privacy policy
      5. Verify if the checkout page of the site has a secure connection (https in the address bar). If not, then the site is not secure for online transactions

      Regards,

      Reply
  8. i have a doubt SHOP JACK is a fake shopping site?? there is no relevant information about that site on internet ,pls help me

    Reply
  9. GingerbreadOctober 22, 2014 at 3:40 AM

    I tried to log on to check the status of my order at newamericanjackets.com but my password didn’t work. In fact, the system did not recognize my email address. It has only been 9 days, but this made me suspicious, so I began to investigate and this is what I found:

    newamericanjackets.com and desertleather.com are scam websites with fake 5 star reviews and the option to pay with “PayPal”. This means you still have to beware. PayPal doesn’t make a website safe. They just make it easier to process a fraud claim. Which is comforting.

    The newamericanjackets.com customer service phone number is (111) 321 456 789 on their website, which as you can obviously see, is not a real phone number. I called number listed on the PayPal page and the greeting was simply toddler noises in the background. I didn’t leave a message, but I got a call back from some random guy telling me he had a missed call from my number. Another number has a greeting that suggests that you leave a message.

    Their address is an old apartment building in Chicago according to Google maps. I just filed the claim today and PayPal said it should be resolved by Nov 1. Even though I was a victim of this scam, PayPal did make me feel better about it.

    Reply
    • Hi,

      Thanks for sharing your experience. We are glad that PayPal take such steps to help people with such matters. We hope that your issue is rectified soon and without any hiccups.

      Regards.

      Reply
  10. This really answered my drawback, thank you!

    Reply
  11. Hi i just want to know if http://www.ferry aditiya.com site fake or real

    Reply
  12. Dear All,

    This is to inform you that A R Shopee is a fake shopee, they are world largest cheaters, i and my friends are cheated from A R Shopee, once they get money from us they will not respond for our call also they will not send any product, This is pakka fake shopee..

     How they will  cheat Costumers ?

    Step 1: you will get Call From A R Shopee 
    Step 2. They will Explain about offers With forcefully  (FAKE OFFERS)
    Step 3.they start hypnotism to make bakara
    Step 4. then they will tel its 100% free due to Anniversary
    Step 5. Finally though hypnotism they makes us to transfer money 

    once transferred money they will cut the call and they will not call back also our call will not reach them.

     Finally you will not get any single product also

    Already A R Shopee is Cheated to more than 500 costumers  so you pls be aware of this 

    Jagadeesh paschapur
    9986983450

    Reply
  13. Ravi Kanth VarmaJanuary 22, 2015 at 4:20 PM

    How to check the websites for shopping are fake or real , bcoz no shopping website starts with htpps but the payment windows is a secure htpps

    i want to check with the sites which offers shipping from abroad but says free shipping

    i have purchased from DX.com the price is geneune but it took more time to come and now i want to know about the site Alibaba.com from china is this good or fake

    Reply
  14. Cristian BMarch 25, 2015 at 7:14 AM

    Is This a Scam? it has coupons but there are a lot of reviews of stuff being damaged and taking over 6 weeks It has google services.

    Here is the link http://www.gearbest.com

    Reply
  15. hi sir i got a cal from bookemi.com site they r offering mobile in emi process is it good site r fake pls repy me…

    Reply
    • Hi Yuvaraj,

      We will get this site vetted by our lab. In the meantime, we would advise you to thoroughly read the privacy policy of this site before doing any business with it. We always recommend users to buy from popular and well-known online shopping sites.

      Regards,

      Reply
  16. Is this a scam website? 1stglobal.co.kr

    Reply
  17. Please spread this message. There is an online shop named as http://www.myindiashopping.com this is a complete fraud site.please dont go and purchase from this prank site. 1121385479 this is my tracking number send by them to me via email about 3 weeks before. till date it is showing that it is under process even the courier service is not confirmed i have paid them including the courier charges for two malayalam books.There customer care is not responding no reply to emails calls etc. Please spread this message. I am planning to move legally against them.

    Reply
  18. i have purchased samsung galaxy grand max on a sell at rs.11161 from Snapdeal.com.
    the seller is SCL-Kukas-VOI (the seller scored 4.9 out of 5)
    and the courier is GoJava.
    is it safe..????
    im buying 1st time online.feeling nervous.

    Reply
    • Hi Avi,

      Please go through the reviews of the seller on the site. Since he has received a fairly high rating, others seem to be happy with his service. So we think you should be fine.

      Regards.

      Reply
  19. Rajeev KumarAugust 4, 2015 at 4:49 PM

    Hi.
    I have one call from grabshoppingdeals.com with exciting offers on TV. I want to know whether this site is fake. So please help me through mail.

    Thanking You…

    Reply
    • Hi Rajeev,

      The site seems safe and reliable. However, we suggest you read some online reviews about the site and also read buyer reviews of some products listed on the site. Moreover, when you place an order it is advisable to choose Cash on Delivery (CoD) as the payment option.

      Regards.

      Reply
      • Rajeev KumarAugust 6, 2015 at 9:53 AM

        I have visited the site very carefully and I saw there is no review on any product and also no option for Cash on Delivery (CoD) as the payment option, that’s why I am asking whether this site is safe for online shopping. So, plz verify and kinldy inform me since I am not able to do the same.

        Thanking You.
        Rajeev Kumar

        Reply
        • Hi Rajeev,

          In that case, I would advise you to not place an order from this site. This is my personal opinion and is not based on a technical analysis of the site. It would be better if you stick to the more well known e-commerce platforms for online shopping.

          Regards.

          Reply
  20. Rajeev KumarAugust 6, 2015 at 11:06 AM

    Thanks for your opinion.

    With warm regards.
    Rajeev

    Reply
  21. ramesh bhadriSeptember 3, 2015 at 5:18 PM

    I ordered an autoclave worth Rs. 8084 on on 1 sep 2015 on Meddeal.in which is run by indosurgicals.com. and made payment through my debit card. Today after 2 days i received a call from their representative saying the payment you have made has been bounced for some reason (unknown) and your money has been refunded to your bank account; where as didnt receive any call or email from the bank or the payment gateway site (payu) regarding the same. So i checked my bank a/c where no money had been refunded. The representative asked me to repay the amount to get the delivery done (as the money is already refunded or in the process) as i required the item urgently. This made me doubtful regarding the compamy and their intentions. Is this a scam? Please help

    Reply
    • Hi Ramesh,

      This definitely sounds like a scam. Do not make the payment again until you have received your money. In the future, please avoid random third-party sites and stick to the well known and verified ones only. Also, it is advisable to choose Cash on Delivery (CoD) for such amounts.

      Regards.

      Reply
  22. I have ordered a pair of shoes of size 9 in http://www.royzez.com . i have received it too. but i opened it later and it was of size 8 with the same set of shoe. i have send a mail regarding this and didnt receive any replies yet.
    Is that a fake site to send me a wrong item ?? please help me.

    Reply
  23. is syberplace a genuine shopping website…?anyone please help me guyz…!!!

    Reply
  24. PLEASE Anyone just give me the list of fake shopping websites…!!

    Reply