Aussies more than ever are turning to the internet to do their holiday shopping. Approximately 48% of Christmas gifts are predicted to be purchased online this year.
While online shopping can be fun, practical, and less time-consuming, it can also be riskier due to online shopping scams. Yet, if you learn how to distinguish a fake business from a legitimate one, you should be safe to buy online.
Continue to read to learn how to spot a reputable company and differentiate it from a fraudulent one.
They Have a Secure Address Bar
When you access a reputable brand website, there will certainly be an https:// at the beginning of the address.
If a webpage uses http:// (no S), they don't use encryption to transfer data, which means it isn't safe from hackers.
While it may not necessarily mean that the website is a scam, it's best not to enter your personal information on these types of sites. After all, you wouldn't want a hacker to find your credit card details easily.
Some internet browsers (e.g., Google Chrome, Apple Safari) warn internet users about unsecured webpages. Plus, you'll likely see a tiny padlock beside the web address when a site is secure.
A trustworthy brand will offer customers multiple ways to contact them (on the phone, through social media, via email). If a business is reluctant to give their phone number, they might not be legitimate.
Email and domain names are fairly easy to obtain, so offline contact information is a bit more trustworthy. Phone them just to be extra safe.
No Grammar Mistakes
While legitimate companies may have websites with the occasional typo, there will undoubtedly be an effort to present itself as a professional webpage.
An excess of grammar mistakes, spelling, capitalization, and punctuation could signal that a webpage went up quickly and that the ''company'' didn't care about the brand image, which wouldn't be the case for a reputable brand.
Trustworthy online businesses won't capitalize every other word or make frequent punctuation mistakes. So, take a closer look to distinguish between real and fake.
They'll Pass the Test
Click in your search engine and put the brand's name to see if any sites show up flagging it as a scam. Then type the name into the Trustpilot site, Better Business Bureau, Twitter, or even Reddit. If you can't find any results, it might be a sign that you shouldn't be purchasing from such a brand.
Indeed, you would find results for a legitimate brand online, whether on blogs, review sites, or social media.
Legitimate Businesses Don't Have a Generic Account
A domain email address is essential for any business. It improves its credibility, projects professionalism, and works as a branding tool (generating brand awareness).
Why would a legitimate company use an email address ending in gmail.com, yahoo.com, or outlook.com? It would only make potential customers unsure about its legitimacy.
They Offer Secure Payments Options
A trustworthy business certainly offers standard payment options, such as PayPal or credit cards.
If a webpage is requesting you to use a money order, wire transfer, or any other nonrefundable and unsecured form of payment, it's undoubtedly a scam. Therefore, even if the rest of the website looks authentic and professional, it's best to stay away.
No ''Weird'' Domain Names
Scammers often trick customers by creating web pages with addresses that appear similar to those of large brands or businesses. Consumers think they're buying from authentic companies, but if they looked closely, they would see something like Yah00.com or Amaz0n.net. No legit business would be written in such a weird manner.
Whenever you do your eCommerce shopping, make sure you don't skim over the address and domain name. It can save you from fraud.
They'll Likely Use Original Images
Real businesses are more likely to use their own images to sell their products. You can do a reverse image search (copy the URL of a product shot on the business site and go to images.google.com and paste it into the search) to see if the business uses original pictures. It can be a red flag if that same image comes up for other listings or brands.
If the picture turns out to be stock photography, they can still be legit if they're reselling products from wholesale companies. However, it may also be stolen from mainstream brands.
Inexistent: Deals Too Good To Be True
Occasionally, retailers offer great discounts on older merchandise to make room for brand new products.
However, if you find an online company offering the latest iPhone model with an 80% discount, stay away. You would certainly give a scam business your money, and your purchases would never be delivered.
No Newly Registered Domain
Consumers shop online more frequently during the holiday season, and scammers are aware of it. So, they set up real-looking web pages very rapidly around those times.
When you check the domain age, you can find how long the website has been in business. The Whois Lookup domain tracker can provide you with information about how long the website has been active, the domain name registrant details, and their location.
Indeed, by verifying the domain age, you'll have a better sense of the business veracity. It might not be a defining factor of whether a company is legit or not, but it can work as a warning for you to be cautious.
Buy From a Reputable Company
Now that you know how to identify online scams, enjoy your holiday shopping! Just make sure that you don't leave it to the last minute to avoid potential shipping delays.
Do you want to buy designer items from a reputable company? Contact us to book an in-store visit now!
Otherwise, order online! We offer free standard Australia post delivery on orders over $500.