Online Shopping Scams and How to Avoid Them | Reader's Digest Asia

Online shopping is a great, convenient way to shop for your favorite products from absolutely anywhere. But it is also a haven for scammers.

With the advancement of technology and the popularity of online shopping, scammers have taken advantage of this and settled their sights on online shoppers and their personal data. The best way to avoid this is to shop on trustworthy websites, which can be verified by review sites designed specifically for customer feedback. Review sites are useful tools to find the best fashion shops based on the ratings and reviews they receive from people who have purchased from these stores and provided feedback on the service they received and the quality of the products they purchased. Click on the links to learn more about the benefits of reviews.

How can I verify a website is legitimate?

To ensure that the website that you are visiting is legitimate, take note of:

#1: The URL

Verify the legitimacy of a website’s URL by doing an online search. Note the spelling, as scammers will use website addresses with a single letter added or removed to make their site look legitimate. 

#2: The padlock icon

A secure website will have a padlock icon next to the web URL. You can click on this to access the site’s security certificate, the number of cookies that the site is using, and other site settings. Note that this is not always foolproof and can be copied. The best way to check this is to do a Google transparency report. This report tells you how safe a site is.

#3: Use anti-virus software

Anti-virus software blocked hackers and scammers from accessing your personal data online. Make sure that you have the latest version installed on your computer, and keep it updated at all times to keep even the newest bugs out. With anti-virus software, you will receive a pop-up to alert you of an unsafe website. 

#4: Look for the trust seal

The trust seal provides customers with the peace of mind that they can make secure transactions on this website. You can search for online stores that have the trust seal on the Better Business Bureau.

#5: Use review sites

Reviews are an incredibly useful term for assessing how reliable a product or service from an online store is. See what real customers say about the company and its products. Review sites are great for searching for scams.

What are the most common red flags to note when shopping online?

  • A price that’s too good to be true usually is. Compare costs across several online stores to check the legitimacy of the price of a product. 
  • Never ever pay upfront for any product via eft or wire service. 
  • A new store with little or no reviews or policies is most like a scam and should be avoided at all costs. 
  • Online stores that have no contact details, privacy policies, and do not allow for credit and debit card payments, the site is fake.
  • If a seller seems excessively pushy about selling an item to you, he is most likely trying to scam you.


Online shopping has a host of benefits. But there are many dangers that lurk online, and knowing what to look out for can protect you from any loss to scammers and hackers. Remember the tips and red flags we have shared when you are shopping online and avoid falling prey to identity theft and loss of hard-earned money.