In the past few years, so-called fake shops, fake websites of alleged mail-order companies, have become more professional. Consumers are increasingly complaining – also because they have to take a closer look to spot the fraud.
The digital world, the market watchdog, recommends that consumers take a close look at online purchases.
What are fake shops?
Fake shops lure consumers with particularly attractive offers. “Often the sites advertise with a significant discount on all products offered.” This is what the team leader of the digital world market watchdog, Kirsti Dautzenberg, says. “An order is usually only possible against prepayment, even if various payment options are initially offered on the site.” After placing an order, the customer does not receive any goods. If the consumer does not notice the fraud in time, the money is gone in most cases. Many an operator even fake delivery problems to prevent the customer from withdrawing from the purchase.
The digital world market watchdog is funded by the federal government and processes and analyzes the digital market from the consumer’s point of view. You can identify grievances at an early stage and thus show where the action is required.
Which industries are particularly affected?
According to the current investigation by the market watchdog, it can be assumed that over four million Germans have already fallen into the fake shop trap. Further research makes the extent of the problem clear: “We have already succeeded in identifying more than a million URLs through which consumers can get to fake shops with a simple, automated Google search,” reports Dautzenberg. “And that is surely only the tip of the iceberg; we suspect there is only one operator behind this.”
Particularly popular products on offer are sporting goods, electronics, and household items, clothing and bicycles, but also clothing in general, glasses and jewelry. And above all from well-known brands.
Often indistinguishable from reputable providers
“We are also seeing that fake shops are appearing more and more professionally,” Dautzenberg continued. “Some of the websites look like those of normal internet shops, with high-quality product photos and article descriptions, a trustworthy domain and sometimes a meaningful imprint with contact details, tax number, etc.” However, these data are falsified.
In addition, trustworthy seals from, for example, ” Trusted Shops” or PayPal as well as Visa and Maestro symbols are shown. Even the terms and conditions look like normal mail-order companies. The fake shops are also often copies of large, well-known mail-order companies and are therefore difficult to identify. A German domain address often feigns security.
As such, e-commerce websites are illegal to watch in some countries like the USA. We recommend reading website reviews just like biztech age publish Salecb Review.
What should you watch out for in order to identify fake shops?
The price is often too good to be true. Avoid spontaneous purchases and do your research beforehand on the Internet: What are the prices of other manufacturers? Search for customer reviews on social media or consumer forums. Reviews on the shop page, on the other hand, are only partially meaningful.
One should also become suspicious if the domain name has no relation to the products offered there and/or can no longer be found on the Internet a short time later. Mobile devices in particular make it difficult to always read the URL. Even fake stores with incorrect spelling or poor product images are not yet a thing of the past.
Usually, only prepayment is possible. A variety of payment options are only available in appearance. The safest method is therefore to choose the means of payment. Buy it by invoice. Then the seller must first deliver the goods before you pay.
Which online shop seals of approval are reputable?
To test a fake seal in a suspected fake shop, click on the test certificate. It should lead to the website of the seal of approval operator. If the click on the seal does not lead anywhere or on any website, a fake is likely.
What to do if you’ve fallen into the trap
The first step is to try to reverse the payment. To do this, contact your bank or payment, service provider. You should save all evidence of the online purchase: Save or print out the sales contract, order confirmation, e-mails, and receipts, if available. In most cases, however, the money is lost.
The bigger problem, however, is your personal data: They are now also in the possession of the fraudsters and can be used illegally by them.
If you come across a fake shop or you suspect that it is a fake shop, you should report this to the police and, if necessary, file a criminal complaint. You can also contact the market watchman digital world contact the local consumer advice center.
You too could be a fake shop owner!
Another trick: the operators often use re-registered domains that had been deleted by their previous owners, such as private individuals or local party associations. Once this figure that the previously registered on themselves domains now be misused, should they inform the police.
Once a victim has ordered the goods and paid for them in advance, the product will not be sent in the first place or only inferior goods will be sent. Fake shop criminals often operate from abroad. Since those affected do not always report fraud, it can sometimes take a long time until a fake shop is identified and deleted. If you are unsure whether it is safe to place an order in a new shop, please consider the following information.
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