A society without the internet is unimaginable anymore. We go online when we want to entertain ourselves, need help doing research for our jobs, and go shopping. But just as the internet has become integrated into all aspects of our lives, Internet crime has also become commonplace as well.
Given the fact that we necessarily leave plenty of sensitive private information when shopping online, it’s important to watch out for these 6 things in order to stay safe.
1. The Deals Are Old
A common yet effective marketing strategy that most businesses use is offering deals and coupons for their products. There’s a reason it’s so effective – when a company ensures that great deals are added daily, they can keep you coming back for more. It allows you to get a variety of items at a significant discount, while they get to introduce their consumer base to the array of products they offer. There are even websites that are completely dedicated to helping you find the best coupons for what you’re looking for. However, if you see that a website has had the same deals for a very long time, it’s likely that they’re not legitimate. It’s often a deal that looks too good to be true because it probably is. More than likely, you’ll end up paying the full price for the item while the company’s support team will just be nowhere to be found when you ask why your product wasn’t discounted.
2. The Website Is Unsecured
One of the most important things to remember when shopping online is that not all websites are created equal. Always check to see if the website you’re about to enter your credit card information into has an SSL certificate. This is a sign that the website has been verified and is safe to use. If it doesn’t, it’s best not to risk it and find another site to shop on. The easiest way to check this is to look at the URL address of the website. If it has an “s” – and it looks like HTTPS- then it’s safe. On the other hand, if it just says HTTP, it’s not safe and you should leave that website right away. You can also click on the padlock icon in your web browser to get more information about the website’s security.
3. They’re Asking For Too Much Personal Information
When a company asks for too much personal information, it’s usually a sign that something is wrong. This is because businesses only need limited personal information in order to complete your purchase. More often than not, they’ll ask for your name, address, email, and of course, your credit card information once you’re ready to check out. If a company asks for your social security number, date of birth, or mother’s maiden name, it’s likely that they’re not legitimate. The best way to stay safe is to only give away the personal information that is commonly required by a company in a certain niche. Any more than that and you’re taking a risk.
4. They Don’t Accept Regular Payment Methods
One of the easiest ways to spot a scam website is by their payment methods. If they don’t accept regular payment methods, like Visa or Mastercard, then it’s likely that they’re not a legitimate business. This is because the most popular payment methods are often the more secure ones as well – they have contingencies in place that can help protect the buyer in the event of a scam. So if you’re trying to purchase something from a website and they only accept weird payment methods, like gift cards or cryptocurrency, it’s best to stay away. There’s a good chance that you’ll never receive your product and you’ll be out of the money that you spent on it.
5. The Website Looks Bad
If the website looks bad, it’s likely that it’s a scam. This is because scam websites often have amateur designs and layouts. They don’t put as much effort into making their site look good because that takes time, money, and effort to accomplish. So if the website looks like it was made in a hurry, with misspelled words and choppy graphics, it’s best to stay away. The same goes for websites that are covered in ads. These are often scam websites that are trying to trick you into clicking on their ads so they can make money – which isn’t too bad on its own although it can be annoying – but those ads often carry malware with them that can infect your computer.
6. You Can’t Find A Contact Number Or Address
The golden rule of online shopping is that the customer should always have an easy time contacting customer support in the event of a problem. If you can’t find a contact number or an address on the website, it’s likely that the company is a scam. This is because scam companies don’t want to be held liable for their actions, so they make it difficult for customers to get in touch with them. They might not have any customer support at all, or they might have a customer support team that is unresponsive. In that sense, it’s always best to try and find what previous customers have had to say about the business. If there are complaints of an unresponsive support team – stay clear.
So, these are six of the most common signs that a website is a scam. By being aware of these warning signs, you can protect yourself from being scammed. Remember, it’s always best to do your research before making a purchase, and if something seems off, don’t hesitate to walk away.