8 Ways to Know If Online Stores Are Safe and Legit | McAfee Blog (2023)

The explosion of e-commerce sites has changed how we shop today, providing access to millions of online stores with almost unlimited selections.

Just as you would take basic precautions in a brick-and-mortar store — perhaps hiding your PIN number while paying and making sure the business is legitimate — you should also practice safe shopping habits online.

Here are eight ways you can avoid fake websites and other online scams and ensure that you’re dealing with legitimate companies and safe online stores.

Use the free McAfee WebAdvisor to check for safe sites

One of the best ways to tell if an online store is legit and avoid debit and credit card scams, domain name and subdomain name takeovers, and other problems is with a free and effective download like McAfee WebAdvisor.

This smart tool helps you surf and shop with confidence, protecting you from malicious sites that can contain:

(Video) How to Tell if a Website is Legit & Online Shopping Scams | Tech Tip Tuesday

  • Adware: Pop-ups that might be infected with malware
  • Spyware: Software downloaded without the user’s consent, perhaps passing on sensitive personal information to advertisers or cybercriminals.
  • Viruses: Pieces of code that can copy themselves and typically have a negative effect, such as slowing down your system or destroying data
  • Phishing scams: When hackers send duplicitous emails designed to trick people into falling for a scam to reveal financial information, system credentials, or other sensitive data

McAfee WebAdvisor is a free browser extension that downloads quickly and installs easily, working in the background automatically to protect you from malware and phishing as you surf, search, and enjoy online shopping.

McAfee WebAdvisor works with Windows 10, 8.1, 8, and 7 (32- and 64-bit) computers and is compatible with these browsers:

  • Internet Explorer 10.0 or later
  • Microsoft Edge (Chromium-based)
  • Microsoft Edge (Windows 10 only; Fall Creators Update required)
  • Mozilla Firefox
  • Google Chrome

Here are other ways to make sure you know when you’re dealing with scammers online.

Check the padlock in the address bar

When checking an e-commerce site’s credentials, start with the address bar. Often, hackers will use URLs that are very close to the real site’s URL but not quite the same. Look for typos or use Google to see if a search takes you to the same page. Also, look for a padlock icon in the address bar.

Click the padlock and look at the drop-down menu that provides information, such as if the site has a valid certificate like SSL (verifying that the web address belongs to the company), how many cookies are in use, other site settings, and whether your information is safe when sent to this site.

(Video) 5 Ways YOU Can Check if it's a Safe Website

The protection is pretty good but not perfect since some cybercriminals have been able to replicate these padlocks or take over legitimate sites that have them.

Verify the website’s trust seal

Trust seals, such as the TrustedSite certification, are stamps created by a certificate authority (CA) to confirm the legitimacy of a site. A trust seal tells visitors that they are on a safe site and the company that displays the mark prioritizes cybersecurity. Click on it, and you should be taken to a webpage that verifies the authenticity of the trust seal.

Use the Google Transparency Report

Google’s Safe Browsing technology crawls through billions of web addresses every day on the lookout for unsafe websites. The technology discovers thousands daily — often legitimate sites that have been compromised. Warnings for unsafe sites pop up in your browser and on the Google search engine. You can also search specific URLs to see if a site has been compromised.

Check the company’s social media presence

It’s worth checking a company on social media to see if they appear to have a genuine following and legitimate posts. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) also has suggestions for spotting fake social media accounts, including those on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. You should look for:

  • Accounts with poor or no content and stock or recycled images
  • Poor engagement with followers
  • Lack of transparency about who runs the account
  • Phony reviews
  • Links to phishing scams and malware

Review the company’s contact info

Another way to test the legitimacy of an online retail store is to check its contact information. Does it have a physical address, phone number, and email contact? Does the email address on the contact page have the company domain name in it, or is it generic (like a Gmail address)? If you send an email, does it get delivered?

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Analyze the overall look of the website

Check to see if the e-commerce site looks as if it has been professionally produced or whether it has been thrown together with slapdash results. Are there typos, grammar errors, poor-quality images, and a sloppy design? Does it have a poorly worded return policy or no return policy at all?

All the things that undermine the professional appearance and authenticity of a site should be red flags and convince you that you’re on a scam website.

Verify if there are company reviews

If the online company is a legitimate website (not a scam site) and has been around for a while, there should be authentic third-party reviews from previous customers. Review sites include Google My Business, Amazon, and Yelp.

If the reviews are uniformly bad, on the other hand, you have another type of problem to confront.

See how McAfee WebAdvisor can keep you safe while shopping online

Since virtual shopping is fast becoming the new norm, it’s important to guard against cybercriminals that are increasingly targeting retailers and their customers. A great way to shop with confidence is to use McAfee WebAdvisor, which is available as a free download.

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The web browser extension works tirelessly in the background to protect you as you browse and buy. Think of it as a gift to yourself so you can use the internet to its full potential while keeping your information protected.

8 Ways to Know If Online Stores Are Safe and Legit | McAfee Blog (1)

Try McAfee Total Protection

Join 600+ million users who rely on McAfee Total Protection to stay safe online.

(Video) How To Know if Fragrance is FAKE

FAQs

Is a site legit? ›

To find out if a website is legitimate, Google the website's name and review the results. If the site is illegitimate, a quick Google check will be enough to inform you accordingly. Also, look at the website itself to see if it connects securely over https and displays a tiny padlock icon in the address bar.

Is 91shop Co in safe? ›

Reliability: Fake website Fake address Fake people. not sending product and not giving refund amount. there are many people like me who facing the fraudulent with this website services.

How do you trust an online store? ›

Here are basic guidelines; use them and you can shop with confidence.
  1. Use Familiar Websites. Start at a trusted site. ...
  2. Look for the Lock. ...
  3. Don't Overshare. ...
  4. Create Strong Passwords. ...
  5. Check Statements Regularly. ...
  6. Inoculate Your Computer. ...
  7. Privatize Your Wi-Fi. ...
  8. Avoid Shopping in Public.

How do you check if a product is legit? ›

How to tell real products from scams when shopping online
  1. Look for a website, social media presence and contact information. ...
  2. Look up the company's age and what else it sells. ...
  3. Know when cheap is too cheap. ...
  4. Find the company's physical headquarters. ...
  5. If it has a U.S. location, look up the business name with that state.
6 Oct 2021

How can you tell a scammer online? ›

5 tips to help you recognize an online scam
  1. They say you've won a huge prize.
  2. They want you to pay in a certain way.
  3. They say it's an emergency.
  4. They say they're from a government organization or company.
  5. The email is littered with grammatical errors.
  6. Phishing scams.
  7. Travel insurance scams.
  8. Grandparent scams.
8 Jun 2022

What is the most trusted website? ›

The Most Trusted Website for Reviews and Ratings
Review SiteSurvey Trust Score (unweighted)Alexa Global Rank
Google+47.3%1
Better Business Bureau33.0%1,538
Yahoo31.2%5
Yelp28.9%132
18 more rows
5 May 2015

Is Allyzone a safe site? ›

Scam Detector, on the other hand, has given Allyzone a 2.2 rating and flagged it as a potentially dangerous website. After doing some extensive research we found some customer reviews on Facebook and Instagram where majority of the customers are not happy with the purchase.

Is Trenbee real? ›

Trenbee, a renowned clothing brand, curates outfits that bring the most trendy style to your fashion closet. Founded under the leadership of Ankita Khanna and Yash Sharma, the brand is offering fashion ensembles that celebrities adorn their personality with.

Is Gamerspot in safe? ›

gamerspot.in, This site is 100% scam.

How can stores be trustworthy? ›

9 Ways to Boost Sales by Making Your Store More Trustworthy
  1. 1 1. Sweat the Small Stuff.
  2. 2 2. Proudly Flaunt Social Proof.
  3. 3 3. Reassure Visitors That You Take Security Seriously.
  4. 4 4. Emphasize Your Incredible Return Policy.
  5. 5 5. Provide Samples.
  6. 6 6. Provide Detailed and Accurate Product Information.
  7. 7 7. ...
  8. 8 8.
4 Jan 2019

How do you know if something is real? ›

Signs that indicate a product could be a counterfeit include:
  1. Not being able to find the identical product on the manufacturer's official site.
  2. Differences in design.
  3. Different product descriptions. Look for what materials the product is made from and its dimensions.
  4. A significant difference in price.
1 Dec 2021

How can I be aware scammer? ›

Four Signs That It's a Scam
  1. Scammers PRETEND to be from an organization you know. Scammers often pretend to be contacting you on behalf of the government. ...
  2. Scammers say there's a PROBLEM or a PRIZE. ...
  3. Scammers PRESSURE you to act immediately. ...
  4. Scammers tell you to PAY in a specific way.

What information can a scammer get? ›

Scammers use email or text messages to try to steal your passwords, account numbers, or Social Security numbers. If they get that information, they could get access to your email, bank, or other accounts. Or they could sell your information to other scammers.

How do I know if I am talking to a scammer? ›

Every scam we looked at has a few standout characteristics in common.
  1. Tries to gain trust. An online scam will often try to gain your trust in some way. ...
  2. Emotional. ...
  3. Asks for action. ...
  4. Unexpected contact. ...
  5. Asks for personal info. ...
  6. Overpays you. ...
  7. Promises something. ...
  8. Wire transfer request.
16 Oct 2021

What are 5 things that make a website trustworthy? ›

5 Basic Elements of a Trustworthy Website
  • Include authentic images. ...
  • Make your content helpful. ...
  • Offer social proof via media logos. ...
  • Offer social proof via partner logos. ...
  • Make it clear what happens when visitors click on links on your website.
1 Jun 2016

What are the 3 most credible websites? ›

But still, there are some less credible and more credible news sources.
...
We've gathered here several news websites with a good reputation.
  • BBC News. BBC News is one of the most trusted sources you can ever find. ...
  • The Economist. ...
  • The Wall Street Journal. ...
  • Google News. ...
  • The Guardian. ...
  • CNN.
13 Sept 2022

What websites are considered trusted and legitimate? ›

Websites that end with . gov, . edu, . ac, are generally considered as credible sources.
...
Examples of reliable websites are:
  • The World Factbook.
  • Science.gov.
  • The National Bureau of Economic Research.
  • UK Office for National Statistics.
  • US Census Bureau.

What is a trustworthy website? ›

Building a trustworthy website consists of two components: reputation and security. Reputation means providing visitors with assurance that your business is a reputable brand, that your customers will get their orders on time, and that you stand behind your products.

What is a trusted website? ›

Make sure the website represents a trusted organization or institution like a government agency, nonprofit, foundation or university. Such sites may include those run by government agencies, nonprofit organizations, foundations, or colleges and universities.

What are the trusted sites? ›

TrustedSites specifies the Uniform Resource Locator (URL) for Internet sites whose content can be trusted by administrators and users for whom Internet Explorer Enhanced Security Configuration (ESC) is enabled.

Is Electromart a trusted site? ›

Good service and fast shipping most recommended site for your PS5, thank you all for my order .

Is Phonefactory site safe? ›

Don't trust this company! It is a scam! Phone number can't reach them.

Is Fontzone a safe site? ›

Considered safe by WOT

My mac alerted me that installing the corrupt font may cause a virus. This is a real free site to download a wide genre of stunning opentype fonts, including the classics. Straightforward and easy to search with a preview/image of each result. Heavily recommended.

Is Kidinn a real website? ›

Buying at Kidinn is 100% reliable. You will find the best offers and the best prices with more than 1,500,000 products available to choose from with complete security.

Is Truehotties a real site? ›

It looks quite promising at first. But in fact it's a ghost town. It's full of abandoned outdated profiles and 100% fake profiles with hot photos. And it's full of bots messaging you from these profiles.

Is Berlinova a real site? ›

Company will only refund if they receive it, this is a total scam. Do not order from this company.

Is Highload to Safe? ›

Malicious behavior

The domain highload.to is a file-sharing site, but it is abused to host malware.

Is Fliptoy in safe? ›

They are so safe and secure that children can play with them within the halfway or can remove within the parks and explore their surroundings.

Is that Bizgurukul is safe? ›

Yes, Bizgurukul is a safe and legitimate platform. We will give you four strong reasons to ensure the authenticity of the Bizgurukul platform. It has been registered under the companies act 2013 with registration number 364024. It shows that Bizgurukul is a legal platform, and you can completely trust it.

Is Eyemyeye site safe? ›

eyemyeye.com is a reputable fashion accessories website that offers a wide range of products at competitive prices. The website is easy to use and navigate, and the products are of high quality.

Is Fansly safe to subscribe to? ›

Indeed, Fansly is a very legit website that you can use to post or view adult content online. It is one of the many OnlyFans alternatives and does its job way better than OnlyFans. Creators enjoy being on the platform and talk positively about their experience using it.

Is Workzly in safe? ›

According to many sources and reports, the site Workzly is a fake and scam website. It gains the trust of the people and then escapes with the money they stole after cheating them.

Is AdWallet safe to use? ›

At its core, AdWallet is Get-Paid-To (GPT) site that will pay you for watching ads and doing other activities. It is indeed a legit site.

How can I earn money online? ›

Top ways to make money online and offline
  1. No-risk matched betting. Hands down the quickest way to make a lot of money from home. ...
  2. Online paid surveys. ...
  3. Searching the web. ...
  4. Online market trading. ...
  5. Start your own website. ...
  6. Review websites & apps. ...
  7. The 'Disney Vault' secret. ...
  8. 'Get Paid To' sites.
26 Oct 2022

Is WayTenz site safe? ›

WayTenz.com - Fake Website; Way Tenz

I tried to track order everyday but the status only showed that your order is in process. I tried to track the order again but same status of which I have attached image. No phone no is given on website. Even the companies address is not found.

Is EyeMyEye is good? ›

Very bad company worst customer service not delivered product on time.

Is Cleargalaxy safe site? ›

Clear-cut scam, stay away. I got on their site because someone spammed a fake video feed link on a virtual event's page. They said I need to register a "free account" to access the feed.

Is Fansly better then OnlyFans? ›

Contrary to popular belief, Fansly is more popular (at the moment) for content creators than OnlyFans in 2022. As of right now, up to 4,000 new subscribers are getting started with Fansly every hour. It's no surprise they top the charts with 2 million creators and 130+ million subscribers.

How much is Fansly? ›

For watching your 3-minute video and all exclusive photos, a fan will have to pay $10 for purchasing your silver tier. If you want to set a premium for chatting with fans, create a gold tier.

What does Fansly charge show up as? ›

It will appear on the statements as a secret media LLC. Q- How do Fansly protect content creators from fraud and piracy? A- Fraud and Piracy are some of the most important priorities of Fansly. Fansly has spent a lot of resources on developers to make sure that they should stand ahead of their competitors.

Is Upwork safe? ›

Yes, we can say with finality that Upwork is a legitimate freelancing platform. Many can testify that it is a genuine way to earn money and establish contacts for your professional network. It does admittedly have fraud accounts and scammers, but that is true of almost every freelancing marketplace.

How can I earn money by typing? ›

A data entry operator can earn up to one thousand rupees per day, by investing 4-5 hours a day. These jobs are best as part-time jobs. You just need to have basic typing skills, a computer, a good internet connection, a bank account, an e-mail ID, and a desire to earn.

Is indeed safe? ›

Indeed prides itself on being a simple and accessible platform for both employers and job seekers. Indeed has several teams across the globe dedicated to the safety and authenticity of the jobs posted on our platform, but we feel that it's important to educate job seekers during their search.

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