Fake e commerce sites Learn how to identify them and protect yourself

Fake e commerce sites Learn how to identify them and protect yourself

29 December, 2023

E-Commerce has changed the way businesses sell and people shop, enhancing convenience and accessibility. However, this shift has given rise to a large number of fake e-commerce sites as well. These sites pose a significant threat. Therefore, it is paramount for you to be able to identify and distinguish between genuine and fake e-commerce sites.

Let’s understand the various ways in which frauds occur through fake sites and the consequences of falling victim to such frauds. Learn to identify and protect yourself from these deceptive practices.

How do frauds from fake e-commerce sites happen?

Here are some of the prominent methods that fake e-commerce sites use to push you into the trap:

1) Sham product listings

Fraudulent e-commerce sites often try to lure you with unbelievably low prices for popular items. These sites may showcase attractive product listings. Once a purchase is made, either the product will never arrive or it will be vastly different from what was advertised to you.

2) Payment frauds

Fake e-commerce sites may trick you into making payments through insecure methods or fake payment gateways. Once you make the payment, you are left without the product. It might also lead to compromised financial information, which can lead to financial losses in the future.

3) Identity theft

Fraudsters may set up fake e-commerce sites solely to harvest personal information. If you visit such fake sites, you may unknowingly provide your sensitive details during the purchase process. This can lead to identity theft and potential misuse of your personal information.

4) Non-delivery frauds

This is yet another trick to dupe you of your hard-earned money. You may place an order on a fake e-commerce site but the product is never delivered to you. Communication channels are often shut down or non-existent. Any attempt you make to contact customer support may go unanswered.

5) Counterfeit products

Fraudulent e-commerce platforms often sell counterfeit or substandard products. This can pose significant risks to your health and safety, especially if the products are consumables like food, cosmetics, etc.

Consequences of frauds through fake e-commerce sites

Being tricked by fake e-commerce sites can lead to the following adverse consequences:

1. Financial loss: Fake e-commerce frauds may burden you with significant financial losses, especially if you have made large purchases or provided sensitive financial information.

2. Identity theft: Falling prey to identity theft through fake e-commerce sites can lead to long-term consequences. The reason is simple, your identity details (like Aadhaar, PAN, etc.) don’t change. If it ends up affecting your credit score, then it can lead to long-term financial challenges.

3. Emotional distress: Being deceived by a fake e-commerce site can cause you emotional distress. There is often a feeling of being violated and betrayed. This can also erode your trust in online shopping.

4. Compromised details: Whether personal or professional, confidential details getting compromised is something you won’t want. Payment information and personal details provided on fake e-commerce sites can be used for malicious purposes, putting your overall digital security at risk.

How to identify fake e-commerce sites?

In order to stay secure, you need to learn how to identify fake e-commerce sites. Here are some simple tips to help you distinguish between genuine and fake sites:

1) Check website URL and domain

Authentic e-commerce sites use secure and recognisable domain names. Look for “https://” in the URL and also check for subtle misspellings or variations in the domain name, which may indicate a fake site.

2) Research the company

Before making a purchase, you should research the e-commerce company you are planning to buy from. You can look for customer reviews, check their physical address and verify their contact information. Legitimate companies have a transparent online presence that is vital to win customers' trust.

3) Secure payment methods

Authentic e-commerce sites always provide secure payment options. You should be cautious of sites that only accept unconventional payment methods or ask for payments outside of the website. These are important red flags to watch out for.

4) Customer service responsiveness

You should try to contact customer service before making a purchase. If their response is really slow or non-existent, it indicates a potential red flag. Legitimate e-commerce platforms prioritise customer service and experience to increase their retention ratio.

HDFC Bank's Vigil Aunty is spreading awareness and educating people about the latest tactics fraudsters use to deceive people. Even if you fall victim to an online or banking fraud, you can reach out to Vigil Aunty for guidance. She will even support you with the proper course of action to report such fraudulent activities to the authorities.

Join Vigil Army, where Vigil Aunty will decode various frauds and give people a heads-up on the dos and don’ts of combating frauds online. To join the Vigil Army, send ‘Hi’ to her via WhatsApp number 7290030000.

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