How To Spot A Scam Luxury Brand Website

There have been a lot of scam retail websites popping up lately advertising “too good to be true” prices on luxury brands such as Rolex, Michael Kors, Victoria Secret, and more.  These sites are all suspicious, using faked trust logos such as McAfee and VeriSign, questionable Whois data, and seem to be based in China.  Also, these sites will often never deliver the merchandise.

A recent ring of these sites has been reported by our favorite security blog Krebs On Security, where he talks about several sites including michaelkorshandbags.co.uk and others, which use similar wording and redirect payments to Chinese registered payment sites such as sslcreditpay.com.

Internet SecuritySo when you shop online, what can you do to ensure that the site that you’re working with is legitimate?  We have a few steps that you can take.  So curb your impulse buy trigger finger and do a few small things to ensure that you don’t get ripped off.  Remember, all these steps involve using common sense, so if you think something is suspicious, it probably is:

1.) Call the website – pick up the phone and dial the contact number.  If there is no phone number, that is a red flag.  You could potentially send an email if you can find an email, but this will take longer.  And no phone number for an ecommerce site is a definite red flag.  If you get a strange voicemail, that is another red flag.

2.) Do a simple Whois check at domaintools.com – look at their address and contact information.  See what country it is in, and perhaps cross check that information on the internet by either looking up the address in Google maps or just putting the address in the search bar.  Also, look to see how recent the site has been registered.

3.) Look critically at the site – does it have a lot of generic looking images, or do they have custom images for the site itself?  Copy and paste content from the site and search to see if it comes up anywhere else on the internet.  Usually legitimate sites will have their own unique content, not content that is copied from other sites.

The site that Krebs talked about selling Michael Kors handbacks has an empty “About Us” page and a simple form email on their contact page with an email address of service1873@gmail.com.  This is extremely fishy and you should never purchase anything from a website with similar issues.

4.) See if the site is mentioned elsewhere on the internet – search for the site name itself and see if anyone else is talking about it.

5.) Check for site security –If the site payment page changes from http:// to https:// that means it is protected by SSL.  Usually your browser (such as Firefox) will show a green key or lock, and if you hover your mouse over the green part it will say something like “Verified by VeriSign” or something similar.  Beware of any Paypal schemes as well.  If the site redirects to another payment domain, research that domain using the steps above.

 

It might seem complicated to do this, but once you develop an internet sixth sense about scam and fake websites this will all become automatic.  It’s better than getting ripped off, that’s for sure.  And the old adage applies as well – if a price is too good to be true, it usually is.

 

 

 

About the Author

Roger Feinstein has grown up with computers his entire life and strives to help others understand what goes on behind the scenes in their PCs. He's been writing tech articles for websites for over 5 years.

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