Do you know that online retail sales have continued to grow year on year? According to the global online retail spending, statistics and trends, in 2014, online retail sales made up 5.9% of all sales worldwide, rising to 8.8% in 2018.
United States leads the average e-commerce revenue per online shopper at $1,804 followed closely by the UK and Sweden at $1,629 and $1,446 respectively.
As more and more retailers move into the online e-commerce space the likelihood of encountering a scam increases.
With the convenience of online retail, a real advantage, especially when time is short and you are restricted by location, it’s important to know how to spot a scam website.
1) Check The Web Address Bar
It’s true that a lot of scam websites try to seem genuine by using brand names in their domain URL. However, for those in the know it’s a great giveaway that can potentially identify a scam website.
The web address bar contains the domain URL and is located at the top of your browser. Be on the lookout for “Brand name” + Offers/deals. This could be related to any product sold online such as NIKEDEALS.COM or FORDOFFERS.COM and is often a scam to get you to part with money or your contact information.
To avoid the scams, only visit the genuine company website.
2) Confirm The Website Is Using HTTPS And Not HTTP
The web address bar doesn’t just contain the URL of the website but it also displays the website connection security indicator. While it doesn’t count out all scams it’s a step to ensure you are using a trustworthy website.
An indicator of a trustworthy website is the padlock or “HTTPS” that is displayed in the web address bar. If you just see the “HTTP” without the “S” then the website traffic is not encrypted and could be interpreted.
For a safe online experience, ensure that the website is using “HTTPS”.
3) Spend A Few Minutes Browsing
There are many inconsistencies in a website that have the telltale signs of a fake or scam site. However, at first glance, they are easy to overlook. Spend a couple of minutes scrolling the website to see how credible it actually is.
The correct spelling, punctuation, and layout of the website add to its legitimacy. Scam sites are often created fast with little attention paid to the finer details. Make sure the website is presenting the information clearly and without errors.
Errors are a sign of a fraudulent website. Any reputable company would not let grammatical errors or misspellings go unfixed.
4) Ensure The Contact Information Is Displayed
If you’re unsure, a little bit of detective work can never go a miss. Most e-commerce websites, as a rule of thumb, will contain relevant contact details.
The contact details usually include the company’s email address, physical address, and phone number. They may even have an online contact form so you can contact them directly. Check their website for these factors - sites with a homepage like this one from Best Electric Pressure Washer will have these links front and center.
While it’s true that scam websites can simply copy addresses from existing websites. Searching these addresses and completing a reverse phone lookup on the number can usually confirm their legitimacy.
If the address is listed as a business that does not match the name of the website you are on, it’s likely that you are looking at a scam website.
5) Read Online Reviews
Lastly, customer reviews can help you identify a genuine website from a scam website. If the reviews are delivered by a third party such as Feefo and have what look like genuine customer interactions then it sounds like you have a credible website. Check links on the homepage for reviews.
The power of Google is that you can search for the “website” + reviews/scam and see what other people are saying about the website. If the site is legitimate then there will be genuine reviews and discussions. However, if the site is fake and a scam then there’s a good chance other people have called out the scam on online discussion boards or blog posts.