Top 10 Ways to Spot a Scam Site

Shopping on a fake site can cause your personal or financial information to be stolen or your device to become infected with a virus or malware. Knowing how to spot red flags is critical but simple once you know what to look for.
The Top Ten
1 Pay attention to the address bar

Often times, a website that is secure will have an "https" in the URL bar. Never enter personal information into a site beginning with "http://", to be on the safe side. Some scam websites even tend to have a fake version of the website. If the URL doesn't match the website itself, stay away.

2 Check the site's domain name

Exactly the same as #1. A scammer's favorite trick is making websites with addresses which imitate large brands or companies. Always be sure to double-check the address bar.

3 Look up the domain age

Scammers know that more people shop during the holidays, so they put together real-looking websites during those times. By checking the domain age, you can see how long the website was in business, giving you a better sense of its veracity.

4 Watch for poor grammar and spelling

Excessive spelling, punctuation, capitalization, and grammar mistakes indicate that a website was up quickly. Companies with real websites can certainly have occasional typos but still do their best to present a professional website.

5 Look for reliable contact information

Real websites should have other features such as an “About Us” section, terms and conditions, and privacy policies. Check each of those pages to make sure they are there.

6 Check for secure payment options

Shopping websites offer regular payment options. If a website requires wire transfer, money order, or other unsecured (and nonrefundable) form of payment, stay away.

7 Look for deals that are too good to be true

Don't fall for deals that seem too good to be true; they are most likely scams. Chances are you‘ll never see the goods you purchase.

8 Consult the Google Safe Browsing Transparency Report

The Google Safe Browsing Transparency Report allows you to put the URL into a field and gives you a report on whether the site is trustworthy or not.

9 Do your research beforehand

Simple. If you don't see any customer reviews anywhere or see negative reviews, steer clear. You can research the reputation of each seller through official review sites. Reviews of websites speak very high volumes about it's trustworthiness.

10 Check the shipping and return policy

Real companies will have both a shipping and return policy. Steer clear of websites that don't have these policies in place.

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