You’ve come to the right place. Before clicking “buy” and download, check carefully that you’ve chosen a safe shop. Be careful because the number of fake online shops is growing exponentially. The pandemic is accelerating online trade, and fraudsters are taking advantage of this.
More than €170,000: that’s how much counterfeit shops have lost. Thousands of people have already fallen victim to fraudsters. This is just one example of the activities of cybercriminals.
Fake online shops
That’s according to the 2019 report from CELTIC, a group specializing in combating cyber threats:
The number of fake online shops reported is three times higher than in previous years.
The conclusions are twofold: the number of online fraudsters is increasing, while at the same time, shoppers are becoming more aware of the dangers. As a result, the number of online fraudsters is increasing.
More and more fraudsters are advertising fake online shops:
How do influencers make money from the gullibility of their followers? Examples of fraud and dropshipping
Fake online shops: How do scammers operate?
How online scammers and fraudsters work:
They register a domain
They set up a shop and provide attractive and reliable graphics.
They put attractive products on virtual shelves at attractive prices.
They organize an advertising campaign.
They collect payments for goods that will not be delivered.
This is the primary modus operandi of criminals. They have room to maneuver because Internet commerce is growing.
One thing is sure: ONLY check the online shop before you buy.
Beware of shops like AliExpress. They make money by selling low-quality products at high prices.
Fake online shops: how can you check the authenticity of a shop?
Here are some essential tips from Interpol, the international police force:
Check the most important information
Find out which company/person you want to buy from online.
According to the Commercial Code, online sellers must at least provide the company name, tax number, and registered office.
The website address of the business
Check the web address of the shop: it may be different from the original address, e.g., with a letter or .eu extension instead of .com.
Check that the site uses an SSL certificate to guarantee the confidentiality of data transmission over the Internet (HTTPS prefix and closed tab next to the address). If you have problems with understanding how to check, shoot us an email from a contact form on Atlantek Fibre Broadband website.
Deposit to an account in another country
Consider purchasing if you need to transfer money to an account in a country other than the shop’s country.
There are several payment methods available in secure shops.
Counterfeit websites usually offer only one payment method. Your money is transferred to the “fraudster’s” account. This makes it difficult to trace the final recipient, i.e., the fake shop’s founder.
Fraudsters also use fake payment gateways. This allows them to obtain your bank login details and forge verification codes.
Check out reviews of online shops. However, limited trust applies here: not all reviews may be genuine.
How can you check if the shop is reliable?
Don’t follow links in emails that you don’t expect or look suspicious.
If you fear being a victim of fraud, contact your bank (payments may be blocked) and the police immediately.
Safe online shop
An example of a secure online shop is shop.atlantek.net : the site has been up and running for years, has an SSL certificate, contact details, clearly visible terms and conditions, and all the information required by law and best practice.
A popular method of targeting victims in counterfeit online shops
Criminals exploit our love of low, cheap prices.
The red light should come on when you see incredibly cheap offers on more expensive products in other shops (use price comparison websites).
Offering products at shockingly low prices is one of the most common forms of fraud.
How can we avoid falling into the hands of fraudsters, and how can we avoid fake online shops? One tool is a directory of fake websites.
How to check a foreign online shop
You already know what to look for when buying from a domestic online shop. But how can you shop safely in a foreign online shop?
First, check that the seller is based in the European Economic Area.
If so, you have very similar rights to a company registered in Ireland. If you have problems, the European Consumer Centre can help you.
Follow the same steps to certify a foreign e-commerce site as a domestic e-commerce site.
Check the terms and conditions and contact details,
How long the company has been operating,
Whether you have an excellent online rating,
Regular social media activity can also be a clue.