While online shopping is tremendous and beneficial these days, no one can erase the sad fact about the rising rate of fraudulent websites out there. The success of the internet has brought with it some numerous ways on how to make everyone’s lives easier when it comes to shopping, banking, and communicating. However, it has also paved the way to new avenues for cyber crimes and fraudulent schemes at the same time. 


We’ve known several types of con men even back in the earliest generation and these hackers and cybercriminals are just the modern types of con men who have the same old goal and that is to steal your money. So how would you keep your accounts secured from cybercrime? Simple answer: You have to know if you are making transactions with whether a legit or suspicious online store. Identifying a fake site can be tricky; so, here are signs that you must keep in mind when doing online transactions.         


Poor Web Design with Sloppy Language

While there’s a famous proverb that says people should never judge a book by its cover, experts would definitely advise the opposite when it comes to identifying a legitimate website. According to a security expert, David Demille, people would know the reliability level of a shopping site by simply looking at the web design and noticing sloppy English with incorrect spelling and grammar. He also added that a fashion website is very particular with perfecting the creation and appearance of its web design, featured gallery of products, and professional fine print and product descriptions. So, if you find nearly the opposite of those criteria, then you probably might have taken the chance of visiting a fraudulent shop.
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Too Abrupted Discounts 

Customers are so fond of great deals, which is why the most common lure to potential victims is often given through hottest sale promos and too abrupted discounts with free home delivery charge on every branded product. If you think the price is a little too good to be true, don’t be fooled. Instead, compare prices of the same items online and check if there’s an actual sale going on for that certain brand. Seeing nothing is already a red flag that advises you to never visit that fake site again.   


The URL for a legitimate domain should always start with “HTTPS” and not “HTTP”. The “S” stands for security. Thence, missing the letter “S” on the URL indicates that the website is not protecting and encrypting your account information. 

Red-flag Words

Take note of the red-flag words that you can find in product descriptions or fine print of a certain product from a fake site. These include “refurbished”, “vintage”, or “close-out”, which all signs that the products are no longer in mint condition. 

Suspicious Domain Name

Some shady websites would use a domain name of famous brands like Michael Kors, Vans, Louis Vuitton, and the like. The retailer websites for these brands would normally have a simple domain ‒ michaelkors.com. So, you would easily identify a fake website if the domain includes extra words such as “sales”, “discounts”, or “super deals” and some extra characters. 

Confusing or Nonexistent Info

Another important step to take when visiting a shopping site for the first time is to check its contact details and address so you would know which number to call if you have problems or concerns with the ordered products. If the website fails to display its address and contact information, that’s a great sign of a scam. 

Unclear Refund Policy

A reputable website would give you its complete address information and refund policy for products that you’re not satisfied with. Otherwise, the website is fraudulent if the refund policy is quite difficult to understand or nonexistent at all. Contact the company if you can’t find a clear refund policy on its website. If they still respond with vague directions, stay away immediately.  

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Shady Payment Method

The strange fact about fraudulent online shops is its payment method that does not usually work with Paypal or debit and credit cards. Almost all reputable websites would ask for secured payment methods using your Paypal account or debit/credit card. So, stay away from sites that would ask you to pay by money order, bitcoin, wire transfer, or prepaid gift card. These methods won’t usually get your money back in such a worst-case scenario.