As the world of technology grows more sophisticated, so do the tactics used by hackers to steal consumers’ identities, money, and more. Online shopping may be more convenient than visiting a traditional brick-and-mortar store, but it also poses unique risks. Check out these simple tips for spotting a fake online shopping site so you can shop smarter and avoid getting scammed.
1. Grammar Errors
A common strategy cybercriminals use is to make their false website name a misspelling of a well-known legitimate site. Sites called “amazoon” or “walmartt” are most likely designed to trick consumers who have a typo in their search engine entry.
An illegitimate website may also have grammatical errors in the site’s actual content since real professional websites have an experienced team maintaining their web presence. That’s why it’s always important to double-check the URL of your site for grammar and to be on the lookout for content typos.
2. Suspicious Prices
If the prices of the advertised merchandise are too good to be true, they probably are. That’s not to say that ordinary sales are a sign of deception—but if a name-brand item is advertised as being drastically reduced, it may be a good idea to verify the validity of the site you’re on.
3. URL Security
Besides grammatical issues, there are a few clues in the URL that may tell you if the site you’re visiting is a scam or not. Look for the little lock icon to the left of the web address or the ‘s’ in ‘https’ at the URL’s start. If these things are missing, it may indicate that the site isn’t secure.
Even if the website is spelled correctly in the URL, look for words like ‘deals’ and ‘sales’ added to the address. For instance, you may want to find deals on amazon, and so you select a web address called “amazondeals.com.” This page is most likely is a scam website that hackers use to attract consumers looking for bargains.
To be safe, go to the homepage of the company you’re looking for first (in this case, just amazon.com) and then navigate to their sale section from there.
4. Customer Feedback
If a site or company is legitimate, they should record customer reviews somewhere on their site. If the site doesn’t have any reviews, or if the reviews are mostly spam, it might suggest that the website you’re on isn’t secure.
5. Payment Method
Paying with a direct bank transfer online poses several risks, even if you’re sure the site you’re on is legitimate. Requiring this payment method is one of the ways a cybercriminal tries to obtain your bank account information during a false transaction.
One way to protect yourself is to always use Pay Pal or a credit card with fraud protection for all of your online shopping. This provides an extra layer between a potential hacker and your bank account.
In the technologically savvy society we live in, it’s more important than ever to stay vigilant about our personal information online. Even with all the tips mentioned above, cybercrime can still affect you and your savings. Protect yourself today with a cyber liability policy for you or your business. Contact an Avery Hall agent to discuss your coverage options at 410-742-5111, or request a free quote right here on our website.