List of Scamming Websites: How to Protect Yourself from Shopping Scams (2024)

Many fake shopping sites look like the real deal, so it’s getting harder to spot these scams with common sense alone. Sadly, if you’ve been tricked while shopping online, it’s almost guaranteed you won’t receive your purchased goods. Your financial information may also be compromised.

Don’t let your hard-earned money go straight into the hands of scammers! To help you shop safely online, we’ve compiled a list of the latest fake shopping sites. We’ll also show you how to check if a website is safe, how to protect yourself from dangerous links, and what to do if you get scammed online.

Fake shopping sites aren’t the only way to accidentally expose your financial data. Cybercriminals lurking on your network can also intercept your online transactions. Get CyberGhost VPN and protect your connection with military-grade encryption.

What Are Scam Websites?

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Scam websites are fake sites designed to trick you into handing over money or personal information. Scam websites include fake shopping websites, copycat sites of popular businesses, and sites carrying malicious payloads.

Types of Scam Websites

    • Crypto scams: Use fake ICOs, Ponzi schemes, or phishing to target crypto holders.
    • Charity fraud: Exploit your goodwill and keep donations meant for genuine causes.
    • Fake lotteries: Claim you’ve won a lottery you never entered. You’re usually asked to pay a fee or provide personal information to claim your prize.
    • Fake shopping sites: Offer products at attractive prices, but you’ll never receive your purchased goods. Scammers may even keep using your card or sell your information on the dark web.
    • Investment scams: Trick you into investing money into fake or non-existent ventures. You’re often promised unrealistically high returns to lure you in, but you won’t get anything back.
    • Phishing websites: Deceive you into divulging sensitive information, such as your passwords and credit card details.
    • Ticket scams: Fraudulent sites sell fake event tickets at discounted prices or when the real tickets have sold out.

What Are Fake Shopping Sites?

Fake shopping sites are a type of scam website. These sites pose as genuine e-commerce sites and appear to sell popular products. The problem is that after you pay for something (often on unbelievable deals), it never arrives.

What’s worse, you’ve handed over your financial details to shady scammers. While your money might be used for a one-off deduction, cybercriminals can also keep taking money from your account.

List of Scamming Websites

While it’s impossible to know every scam site, we’ve compiled a list of the latest fake shopping websites below.

1. PiloSaleLtd.com

Trustpilot gives this site a trust rating of 1.6 stars. Reviewers say they lost money without receiving anything in return. Unfortunately, you may see other versions of the Pilo site (like PiloLtd.com). Scam sites often create multiple versions of the same site to trap as many people as possible.

2. TiffanyCoShop.com

This is a blatantly fake version of Tiffany & Co, a well-known luxury outlet. However, the real Tiffany & Co only has one official website in operation and it’s not this one.

3. Sheingivesback.com

This website doesn’t use an HTTP connection, which means it’s less secure than most sites. Online forums have also flagged it as a shopping scam.

4. Luvasti.com

Luvasti has been flagged as an online scam. Reviewers claim Luvasti offers goods at cheap prices but never delivers the goods.

5. BedBathClose.com

This scam site impersonates a popular retailer, Bed Bath & Beyond. Aside from a low Trustpilot rating (⅗), you can find numerous online reviews calling it out as a scam.

6. BrookShoeOutlet.com

This website pretends to sell Brooks running shoes, but it’s a complete fake.

7. SueWhitehurst.shop

Many review sites and scam detectors have flagged this website as fraudulent and unsafe.

8. WilkoClosing.com

This website pretends to be a Wilko outlet, but it’s a scam. It also has low ratings on Trustpilot, where reviewers have complained about buying heavily discounted products but never receiving them.

9. Zamzbuy.com

This site has an extremely low trust rating on scam detector websites and it’s also been marked by forums as fraudulent.

10. BHSpcial.com

While Balsam Hill is a real company selling Christmas trees in the UK, cybercriminals have been relentless at creating fake sites to deceive customers. This includes bhspecial.com, christmas-bigsales.com, outletfinalsale.com, bh-clearance.com, balsmhillforsale.shop, and bhoutletsale.shop.

How to Check If a Site Is a Scam

To steer clear of fake shopping sites, it helps to know how to identify scams when you come across them.

1. Use a Website Checker

Website checkers are a fast way to identify scam websites. If a questionable website domain comes up as unsafe, this is a clear sign to stay away.

Here are some reliable scam site detectors:

Note: Scam checkers aren’t 100% accurate all the time. New scam websites crop up all the time and sometimes the scam checkers haven’t had enough time to identify them. If a website has been categorized as safe, it’s a good sign but still not a guarantee of safety.

2. Check the Domain Name

A fishy domain name is an immediate red flag. While there’s no one-size-fits-all rule, here are a few things to consider:

    • The domain doesn’t match the business name.
    • The domain is a bunch of random letters.
    • The domain has spelling mistakes.
    • The domain has an extension you don’t recognize (not .com or any other common or country domain extensions).

3. Read Online Reviews & Ratings

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Check out the latest user reviews if you’re shopping from a website you’ve never heard of before.

When multiple users are reporting scam activities, then it’s best to avoid the website. You don’t want to be the latest fish swimming among scam sharks.

However, good reviews don’t always indicate trustworthiness. People can easily fake reviews and well-coordinated scams often use sophisticated review campaigns to make their site appear legitimate. You can recognize this if the reviews seem irrelevant or don’t match the products on offer. This means they’ve been randomly copied from somewhere.

4. Check the SSL Certificate

SSL certificates tell you whether a website is certified as authentic. If the URL begins with HTTPS, it means it’s an authenticated site (the “S” at the end of HTTP is short for SSL).

Even though an SSL certificate can’t guarantee you’ll get what you order from the site, it’s the most basic security protocol and poorly-made scam sites won’t have it.

5. Analyze the Website’s Content

Scammers and crooks don’t invest as much time to create top-notch sites. If it’s a scam site, you will most likely see dodgy designs, odd images, intrusive ads, and obvious content errors.

Real businesses make sure everything published on their site is pristine. You’re less likely to find spelling or grammar mistakes on sites that care about their reputation.

6. Check the Site’s Contact Details

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When a website offers no way for you to contact them, it’s a warning sign. After all, what would be your course of action if your goods never arrived? Who would you reach out to?

If you doubt whether the contact details are genuine, try getting in touch before you order. If you can’t get through or something seems fishy about how they interact with you, take it as a red flag.

7. Unbelievable Discounts

You might see eye-catching deals offering as much as 90% off on high-end brands or products. If a deal seems too good, it probably is!

Even if you’ve spotted the deal on social media (like Instagram or Facebook), that doesn’t mean it’s a real deal. Anyone can pay for ads on social media platforms — including scammers.

8. Don’t Ignore Warnings About Unsafe Sites

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If you click on an unsafe site, there’s a high chance your search engine or your ISP will detect it and stop you from entering the website.

Instead, you’ll see a warning message appear on your screen. Take note of the warning and stay away!

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9. Look out for Pressure Tactics

Many pressure tactics will use emotional triggers, such as countdown times. The website might also use false scarcity to pressure you to buy quickly. It might say there are only 5 items left in stock and they’re selling quickly. These tricks are designed to put you under pressure to buy — don’t fall for it!

10. Perform as Many Checks as Possible

None of the checks outlined above are enough on their own. You should use them together as a set of tools to help you identify scam sites. For the best results and the most certainty, use as many of these checks as possible. They will work better in tandem and are seriously limited when taken alone.

How to Know If a Link Is Safe

It only takes a simple click on an unknown link to expose your device to malware. Unfortunately, it’s not always obvious if a link is bad until after you’ve clicked on it.

Here’s how you can assess the link before you click on it.

1. Check the Source

Who sent you the link? You may want to ignore it if it was sent from an unknown number or a Facebook friend you haven’t spoken to in ten years. When you feel remotely suspicious about a link, don’t open it.

2. Hover Over the Link to Inspect the URL

If you’re not sure if a link is safe, this is a quick way to check.

Hover your mouse over the hyperlinked text and a URL should pop up. The URL may display directly beside the mouse cursor but also on the bottom left-hand side of your screen. Check whether the URL matches the context of the hyperlinked text (it should match).

If the URL is completely different (or just a bunch of random letters or numbers), then you should be wary of the link.

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3. Use a URL Checker

URL checkers are a tool to help you identify malicious websites. Even if a URL looks harmless, it’s better to be safe than sorry. If you’ve got any doubts, you can use these URL checkers: Google Transparency Report, Norton’s Safe Web, and URL Void.

New scam sites appear daily and there’s a chance the URL checker may not have flagged it yet. However, if a URL checker deems a website as untrustworthy, then you should avoid it.

CyberGhost VPN includes a free Content Blocker feature to help you avoid domains associated with web trackers and malware. Now you can shop online with complete peace of mind.

What to Do If You’ve Been Scammed

If you’ve been a victim of a scam, we’re sorry you’ve found yourself in such an unfortunate situation. It’s not nice to be taken advantage of, but the sad truth is that cybercriminals are constantly finding new ways to target everyday people.

Here’s how you can try to salvage the situation.

1. Contact Your Bank

If you entered any credit or debit card information into a scam site, contact your bank for help immediately. They might already be familiar with this particular scam site and can offer specific security measures.

Some banks even reimburse you when you lose money to a scam. At the very least, your bank can monitor your account and flag suspicious future activity.

2. Cancel or Freeze Your Card

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Cybercriminals may have logged your card details and you could be at risk of further theft. You may wish to cancel or freeze it until you find out more about the situation. This will prevent scammers from using your bank card again.

3. Run a Malware Scan

It’s possible the scam site infected your device with a malicious payload. Malware on your device can wreak all kinds of havoc, including stealing your sensitive information or secretly installing spyware.

We recommend you run a scan with anti-malware software from a trusted provider. While free versions of anti-malware software exist, a paid subscription gives you access to advanced scanning and removal features. You don’t want to risk leaving any hidden malware behind in your device.

4. Change Passwords

Some malware will leak login information from your device. As a precaution, we recommend you change the passwords to all your sensitive accounts.

5. Report the Scam

While the internet is notoriously difficult to police, it’s best to notify your local authorities and report the online scam. In the US, you can report the incident to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). You never know what type of investigations are taking place behind the scenes.

Keep in mind that you may find companies online claiming to be able to retrieve the money you lost to a scam. Be extremely careful — many of these are also scams. Even sponsored ads on Google’s search results pages can be scams.

Protect Yourself from Online Shopping Scams

The internet is rife with fake shopping websites, and they come and go at a rapid rate. That’s why it’s crucial to learn how to identify and avoid scam websites. Don’t be lured in by offers that are too good to be true! Stay up to date with the latest scam tactics, so you can enjoy shopping online with peace of mind.

FAQ

What should I do if I’ve bought something from a scam shopping site?

Immediately call your bank for advice and to monitor your account. Your bank may recommend you cancel or freeze your bank card. You should also run a malware scan to check your device (especially if you clicked on any unsafe links), change the passwords to personal accounts, and report the scam to the relevant authorities in your country.

What are the most trusted online shopping sites?

Amazon, eBay, AliExpress, Etsy, and Taobao are the most trusted online shopping sites. If you’re shopping elsewhere, make sure the site is trustworthy before completing a purchase.

How do I know if a shopping website is legitimate?

There are a few ways to know if a shopping site is safe. This includes looking for an SSL certificate, running the link through a website and URL checker, reading user reviews, and analyzing the website’s content for any red flags.
Always run as many checks as possible. Simply looking at one or two aspects of a shopping website can’t guarantee its legitimacy.

Can I get my money back from a fake website?

It depends on your bank’s policy. Some banks will reimburse you if you can prove the money was lost to a scam. You should also report the scam to your local authorities. If you’re lucky, they might be able to retrieve the money for you.

List of Scamming Websites: How to Protect Yourself from Shopping Scams (2024)
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