Customer data concerns: 6 ways online shoppers can spot a fake website


This article is brought to you by Retail Technology Review: Customer data concerns: 6 ways online shoppers can spot a fake website.

85% of consumers want to know how e-commerce will protect personal data before buying, according to new data.

Online shopping is now extremely popular, and 87 percent of UK households made online purchases within the preceding 12 months, according to Statista.

However with the rise in consumer activity online, comes the rise in internet scams and cybercrime – but that doesn’t mean you need to avoid online shopping. 

Sam Whillance, an expert at online e-commerce platform Deal.Town, shares what shoppers should be looking out for to ensure a website is safe.

1. Steer clear of deals that seem too good to be true

If a website appears to be selling designer clothes or jewellery or electronics for considerably less than the usual retail price, always consider whether this is too good to be true. 

Often, you could be purchasing fakes or replicas.

2. Look for a privacy policy

A privacy policy, normally in a statement format, explains how the business collects, uses, and stores sensitive data from its customers. 

Whist laws and regulations worldwide vary, legitimate, reputable online retailers should have a clear privacy statement and if they don’t, this could be a red flag.

3. Check the SSL certificate

SSL, standing for ‘Secure Sockets Layer’, is an indication that a website is secure for shopping. 

In other words, it is an encryption method that websites asking for sensitive or personal information, such as your credit card details, should have. 

To ensure that a shopping website has an up-to-date SSL certificate, look out for a padlock icon in the URL bar of your web browser. Or alternatively, check that the URL starts with HTTPS, not HTTP (the S stands for ‘secure’).

4. Check if the website accepts credit cards

Credit cards are one of the safest methods for making online transactions. This is because its easier for credit card issuers to refund money lost to fraud. 

Websites that don't accept credit card payments could be warning signal, as it is a lot more difficult for fraudulent websites to become certified by credit card companies.

5. Watch out for spelling and grammar mistakes

Legitimate brands will have the professionalism and accuracy to ensure the text and imagery on their websites are correct.

If a website is poorly written and contains numerous spelling or grammatical mistakes, it could indicate that the seller is not genuine. 

Other red flags may include low-quality images, the inability to leave reviews, and no returns policy.

6. Look for a phone number and address

The majority of legitimate retailers will have a contact number and an address visible in either the header or footer of their website. 

If you aren’t 100% sure whether an online shop is genuine, copy and paste their address and phone number into a Google search engine, to see if their details are verifiable. 

Fake sellers will either not provide any address or use a fake one.

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