Don't fall prey to online shopping scams

Just got a facebook message from one of my friends, sharing that there's a flash sale going today only, offering Ray-Ban sunglasses for just $31.17.

Sounds too good to be true? Yup. It definitely is.


ONLINE SHOPPING SCAM ALERT!


Here are a few tips to save yourself from being cheated of your hard earned money from such scams.
[I am not going to put the website link in this post as we definitely do not want to give them more clicks]

At first glance, the website looks quite trustable, with the official Ray-Ban logo right at the top of the page. The entire design and layout of the site looks quite classy too.



So how did I know that it was a scam site? I didn't. But based on my sister telling me that it can't be the real deal gut instincts and a quick investigative effort, it became easy to see that this site was as real as Megazord appearing in the Pokemon series.


1. Look at the website URL
Any credible website would almost always have a credible looking website URL. [For the non tech-savvy, that's the website address in the address bar]

Ray-Ban's official website URL is "www.ray-ban.com" or "www.ray-ban.com/whateverCountryYouAreFrom". Most credible websites will have similar looking URL addresses with some or all of the following:

a) The brand name or campaign name spelt out in full
b) No grammatical or spelling mistakes
c) Ending with ".com" or ".com.sg" or ".com/sg" or something similar

Now the URL of this page was like a 14 yr o kid tokin on his fone. Evth was in short form. Not only that, the short-forms didn't even make sense. And it doesn't even have the word rayban in it anywhere.

Hmm... Spider-senses tingling. Scam-O-meter: *


2. Check out the webpage title
Pro-tip: If you put your mouse pointer over the tab [E.g. On the blue circle] and leave it there for a few seconds, the full title [The text in the red box] of the page will appear. Again, the title should typically have the 3 characteristics stated above.


Notice how in this short sentence there are already a couple of grammatical mistakes?

The alarm bells are getting ready to scream... Scam-O-meter: **


3. Compare the page with official pages
More often than not, scam pages don't put in too much effort in creating their own pages. Most of the time, they rather copy and paste from some official website that looks credible enough. Sure enough, I opened up the official Ray-Ban website and guess what?


Top of the official Ray-Ban website




Top of the scam site




Looks a little too familiar don't you think?

We know that this site is totally not related to the official Ray-Ban site because the URL is totally different. Then why is the layout, design and colour scheme almost exactly the same?

Things are getting quite sticky now. Scam-O-meter: ***


4. Take a look at their facebook page/website content
Since this entire promotion started from a facebook page, I did a little digging into their facebook event page. The page seemed pretty new, having only 3 posts so far, which, at the time of checking, were posted 6 hours, 5 hours and 6 hours ago.

But strangely, the text for all 3 posts were exactly the same! Ok, giving them the benefit of the doubt that their marketing person sucks, and is just using copy and paste to spam posts, but take a look at these photos in one of their status updates...


Not that I have anything against people of this race, but can somebody please tell me which part of these photos seem like a promotion for a charity sale for Ray-Ban sunglasses? Check out the hashtag too... #RayBanSunBurn. I'm quite certain if I were to search for this hashtag on Mr G, I'll find many other photos of the actual event these pictures were stolen from.

Time to prepare your eye plugs... Scam-O-meter: ****


5. Check out their payment pages
Ok. So let's just assume that they have a really bad marketing team, a really lazy website development team and an organisation-wide problem with proper English. The best tell-tale sign of a scam shopping site is on their payment portal.

I placed an item into my cart, and proceeded to their checkout page, of course, only providing them with fake contact details...




And the very first thing that hit me, was that that page was not even a secure and encrypted page!

If you are on a secure page, there will definitely be something on your address bar that tells you so. In chrome, it's this green block and the "https://" in front of the address.


But the payment page of this site did not have any of these. It was just a normal webpage. And they even had the audacity to put this at the bottom of the page...


Oh really... And while we're at it, don't you feel those images look a little blurry and out of focus? Let's zoom in for a closer look...




Wow. Looks like they really didn't have time to get the official marketing logos from these 'trusted vendors' due to the urgency of the flash sale. Or maybe they just took screenshots of the logos and pasted them on their site... I wonder...



Bee Doo! Bee Doo! Bee Doo! Scam-O-meter: *********

Internet shopping site scam alert!!


Of course, the last thing to do was to try to complete the purchase with fake information, just for the fun of it.



Well, at least they did 2 things right.
1. They managed to check that the 1st digit of a VISA card is always 4. [Globally known info]
2. They had a validation failure message after I clicked submit.


I'm quite certain they are using your card details to purchase items which would probably never be sent to you. Oh, and don't forget they even charged $20+ for shipping!


So now that you have been equipped with some anti-scam knowledge, I hope that you will never fall victim to online shopping scams.



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