Save yourself from Internet scams

Written on 01 August, 2008 by Netregistry
Categories Small Business Web Hosting Tags merchant scam

With websites often operating on a global level, it can be difficult to know on whom to pinpoint the responsibility for an internet scam. With no one to place the blame on, consumers are left lost as to how they can reclaim stolen funds. By adhering to the following advice, you can stay safe when shopping online and provide your e-commerce customers with peace of mind.

Send away the scammers

Some credit card companies offer refunds on scam purchases, but it depends on the brand of card and/or your insurance policies. To be safe, make sure that a website’s payment portal is verified by Visa and/or has security certificates displayed. Avoid get rich quick schemes and remember the motto that if anything looks too good to be true, it probably is. If you come across a website or email that claims to earn you millions of dollars or trace your genealogy, be very suspicious. Investment websites are not worthy of your trust, so it’s best to stick to traditional methods of investment. The terms “anti-ageing”, “instant millionaire” and “this is not a scam” should set of immediate warning bells.

Quotes from so-called customers on the site are not quite enough to earn a security seal of approval. How do you know if the quotes are from real people, or made up? As above, enter the company name in to a search engine and analyse the occurrences of the business’s name on other sites. If you have lost money in an internet scam, phone the ACCC on 1300 302 502

Fight for your right

Current Australian legislation states that the ACCC can take action under the criminal consumer protection provisions (which attract monetary penalties) in the Federal Court. As a consumer, you have the right to make a complaint against a company or individual who has failed to provide the products and services money has been exchanged for. The claimant must demonstrate that the product supplied by the manufacturer or importer was defective, and that the defect was the cause of a loss or injury. The problem with online fraud is proof, when websites can disappear from a domain and leave evidence that is transferable to the real world of transactions.

Safety-proof your site

Your website needs to be as safe an environment for the customer as a physical, walk-in shop would be. “As a merchant, you want to process transactions as securely as possible,” Brett Fenton, Chief Operating Officer of Netregistry advises.

  • People trust credit card transfers because they can, depending on the credit card provider, come with the added safety of being able to cancel fraudulent transactions.
  • Money orders or Western Union Transfers, when paying for products, come across as a little technologically backward these days. Stick with something like StoreXpress that keeps payments to you secure.
  • Include offline contact details, and respond to customer enquiries.
  • User-generated content like a forum, where customers can comment about your service, will help to prove you’re genuine and make potential clients feel more secure

It’s not all bad news

The shady characters lurking on the internet can unfortunately give the whole e-commerce industry a bad name. While it’s true that are some wicked scams online, there are also many reputable businesses trading fairly and offering superior service. One of the greatest pleasures of online shopping is having access to stores the world over rather than being restricted to the tenants of your local mall. With a credit card, you have the freedom to make purchases from retailers on a global scale from your own home in a way that was never possible before the internet. As long as you follow standard safety and security procedures, your shopping should be hassle-free.

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