The Communications Authority of Kenya has severally issued an advisory over online shopping fraud. You can be sure to have a good number of Kenyans fall victim ever year. What is online shopping fraud? How do I identify the warning signs?
Online shopping scammers pretend to be legitimate online sellers, creating fake websites, mobile apps or social media platforms to set up fake online stores. It is common in Kenya, especially now that setting up a fake online account doesn’t cost much.
What are the warning signs?
Too good to be true. Before you go heads over heels for low prices, be warned that the price might be bait. Find out the cost from other companies and compare.
Shoddy or incomplete website presentation. Scammers want to give you an illusion of a real company and don’t care much about detail. It’s likely that they pick up a website template and edit key things living out the rest.
Scarce contact information. The contact information provided is likely to be limited or not very clear. An email and phone number will be provided, but further details such as office location will be missing. About us section details will be scanty or might not be provided at all.
Check for refund, cancellation, delivery and any other policies provided on the website. If the website doesn’t provide any or has very generic information, you need to be very careful.
Check when the domain was created. You can check on whois.com just to see when the domain name was created. For newly registered domain names, that means that most of the information online about the company might not be verifiable. Unless you have enough confidence with the online shop.
Do they have an SSL certificate? Although web hosts, like us, give free SSL certificates, most scammers might not have an SSL certificate. Do not agree to credit card payment if the website is not secure. You can view from the address bar details of the SSL certificate.
While the above has been shared over and over again, we still have quite a good number of people each year who become victims of online shopping fraud. We have not covered all tips exhaustively; as scammers change their game as soon as their tricks are found, but above is a guideline on the basic lookouts.
The next time you get into a holiday shopping hype, be careful! You might be the next victim if they did not get to you.