Take a look at this quick guide on how to avoid being ripped off by scam sites this Christmas. My site of choice for a scam this year goes to… Kisstoyi.
‘Tis the season to be jolly or so they say. It’s also the season where some people want to take advantage of others and rip them off.
I’m sure I’m not the only one that seems to be shelling out more and more on presents every Christmas. Which makes it even more important to save money wherever we can. Now, there are some bargains out there, but how do you know who will provide you with the goods and who is trying to run off with your cash?
Recently I saw this post on one of the Facebook groups I belong to.
Now, after a couple of minutes checking, I could see that Kisstoyi was a scam. I know that leaves me open to be sued, but I will eat my hat if this company is still in existence post Christmas.
You can’t always tell a scam site by the prices they charge. The clever scammers know that if prices are too low, you’ll smell it’s rotten a mile off. So they make prices low enough to make them believable but still tempting.
The good news is, you don’t need to be a detective to see if a site is legitimate. It will take you just a few moments to find out.
6 simple checks you can make
1) Did you find the site through Social Media? There are plenty of decent companies that advertise on the likes of Facebook but it’s also popular for scammers. You can run adverts from as little as £1 and from the adverts I see, Facebook doesn’t vet many of them. Plus people have a habit of sharing these ads without looking into them too much.
2) Check the English on the site. Scammers will generally copy wording from other sites and a lot of the English will seem perfect. Look closer though and you’ll see spelling mistakes and some very odd phrases
3) Take a look at the About Us page. There’s no better way of letting a customer know all about your company than by putting everything they need to know on one page. Information such as how long they have been operating and where they are based. If it’s a new company that isn’t planning to stick around for long, they probably won’t bother.
4) Visit the Contact Us page. This is one of the biggest tell-tale signs that a site is dodgy. Most companies have various ways you can contact them, usually by email, phone or livechat. If a company is looking to scam you, they will set up an online contact form . Occasionally they will offer an email address too. But you will be lucky to find any sign of a telephone number or a contact address.
5) Don’t be fooled by the padlock. In the address bar, some sites (like mine) show a padlock symbol. Some people believe that this means you are safe to shop there and it’s some kind of seal of approval. However, all it means is that nobody else can read the information you enter onto that site apart from the owners. That’s
6) Still unsure? There are some easy to use tools out there (like this one) that will tell you how long a site has been operating for. Do you really want to buy from a website that’s only been operating for 2 weeks.
This is by no means an extensive list to look out for, but all of them are major indicators. One of these points taken in isolation may be Ok, but If you come across a site that checks all the boxes, I would run a mile.
The Kisstoyi scam
So how does Kisstoyi stack up against the above? Well, they advertise on Facebook and have some phrases in their FAQ’s such as “Our website has established a safe transaction environment. Encryption is applied in our order system so as to protect your personal registration information on our website. If your browser and local network support application of transmission of encrypted data, the encryption system will offer you a reliable environment for shopping.” Make any sense to you?
There is no About Us page and the Contact page has the usual online form. An email address is listed, but the address is @bestcustomermails rather than @kisstoyi. The most damning part is that the site had only been up and running for only days when they started advertising in November.
What if you think you’ve been caught out?
If you ever make a purchase from a site that afterwards, you think may be a scam, contact your card issuer immediately. Let them know that you think the site isn’t legitimate and that you want to cancel your card. If money has already been taken, you may be protected. Again, speak to your card issuer.