Over the years internet shopping has taken the world by storm, decreasing the amount of people who buy products in-store. This has opened an entire world of problems caused by deception, counterfeit websites and criminal activities – aided by the use of fake websites.

Internet shopping has then created both positive and negative consequences. In 2016 the UK lost around £2 million each day because of fraud and scams; the most common type being that products purchased online were not received.

Many individuals go through their daily life not worrying about fake websites which results in them not even realising that the website they found wasn’t safe. Fake websites can be tough to spot if you don’t know what you are looking for. We offer a range of internet protection products such as industry leading ESET which has a remarkable Internet Security and Anti-Virus functionality at an affordable price.

Even with the ESET package it is also beneficial to have some knowledge on how to spot a fake website.


Below are some tips on how to stay safe when purchasing online and storing your details on websites:

  • Types of common fake websites to look out for are Holiday Accommodation websites, Airline websites, spoof banking websites and websites offering highly discounted products.
  • You should always double check the domain name of the website you are about to click upon, be cautious of URLs that include .net or .org as they are rarely ever used for online shopping.
  • Is the offer too good to be true? Don’t let amazing discounts fool you, sometimes they really are just too good to be true.
  • Never pay by bank transfer, you should always buy online via credit or debit card. When purchasing with a credit or debit card, you do have some rights to get your money back if you are caught out by a scam; mainly so when using a credit card.
  • Most browsers display a green padlock, which will have a description explaining how it is secure when you click on the padlock. You should never fully rely on this method alone, but it is a great indicator.
  • If the website is selling products online it should have a returns and shipping policy listed on the website, and if it is a genuine company then they should tell you how and where to return an item. The website also needs to have terms and conditions and a privacy policy so that you can understand how the website is using your data plus extra contractual rights you may have.
  • Scan the website to have a look to see if there is any poor English or grammatical mistakes. This could indicate that it was made by someone abroad which tends to be the location that most scams originate from.
  • If the website does not have a ‘contact us’ section on the page, it could well be a forged website. Any business who’s selling products online should list a business address, along with an email or phone number to contact them on.
  • Read online reviews, on websites such as Trustpilot, Feefo and Sitejabber. Make sure the reviews aren’t fake, by checking whether there is a few recent reviews that all look very similar and could potentially have been made by the same person under different names.
  • Is there a trust-mark? Can you trust it? Researched by ANEC (a European consumer organisation) concluded that seven out of ten individuals are more likely to trust a website if it displays a trust-mark label or logo. There is over 50 different trust-mark in use across Europe. They are not a guaranteed way of judging if a website is trustworthy; just because they have a trust-mark or label doesn’t mean they are a genuine website. If you are in doubt of the trust-marks validity, you should contact the trust-marks governing body to check with them.

Fake websites do not mean you should never use the internet, it just means you should be wary of the content on the website and ensure the website is the website you believe it to be.

You wouldn’t give your bank details to a stranger, so why would you give the details to a strange website?

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