It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Shoppers everywhere are rushing madly to get their holiday shopping done and take advantage of deals that savvy retailers are offering.
But if you’re not careful you’ll wind up with an empty bank account and a long wait at the mailbox for goods that never arrive. Black Friday and Cyber Monday is a prime time for scam e-commerce stores – websites designed to look like legitimate businesses but in fact are just attempts to steal your money.
Here are four ways you can spot a scam website and stay cyber safe this Black Friday/Cyber Monday.
Prices that are way too low
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are great times for grabbing a good deal. But there is a limit to how much you can expect to save.
Many scam websites try to steal your money by offering really low prices on products that appear to be legitimate.
Frequently, though, they are actually counterfeit goods designed to appear real. In other cases the store will accept your payment but then not actually deliver anything.
As with so much surrounding cyber safety, a little common sense about prices on e-commerce stores can go a long way. See a price on something that is too good to be true? It probably is.
Red flags about payment
The process for paying for merchandise online is pretty straightforward. You put an item in your cart then go through the checkout process to pay using a credit card.
It’s a standard formula for all legitimate e-commerce stores. That’s why you need to be wary of any variation from it.
If you see any of the following in an online store, it’s a sign that the site is a scam:
- You are asked for credit card information any time other than when making a purchase.
- The site won’t accept credit card payments.
- You are asked to pay for goods in cash.
- The site asks you for financial information through an email or pop-up message.
The site looks poorly designed
Most legitimate e-commerce stores will put a certain amount of time and effort into providing a good user experience for customers. That means nice images, an easy-to-navigate design and a smooth checkout process.
Scam e-commerce stores don’t live by the same standards. Because they aren’t attempting to sell you goods or services legitimately, there’s less incentive for them to put time and effort into making their store looking nice.
Common sense is a good guide for staying cyber safe during the Black Friday and Cyber Monday period.
The store is missing key information
Most legitimate e-commerce sites have key ingredients:
- A return and sales policy outlining terms of sale and how items can be returned
- Contact information (such as an address or phone number) for the business
If you’re thinking of making a purchase from a store that doesn’t have any of these items, think again. It could be a sign that the store in question is not legitimate.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday is a great time to take advantage of sale prices and get a good deal on that item you’ve been eyeing for some time.
But don’t let the sales frenzy overtake your common sense. Remember these signs for how you can spot a cyber scam and save yourself time and money.