Fake webshops

How do you end up in a fake webshop?   

You may have your usual online shops where you buy your products. Well-known online shops usually work very well. They send your order on time. If the delivered product is not satisfactory, you can easily return it. They also give you your money back without any hassle.    

But there are also fake shops that want to rip you off.  Usually you land on a fake shop by clicking on an advertisement.  For example :   

  • You search for a certain product via search engines. The search results include advertisements for this product. The shops that offer the product are unknown to you.     
  • You surf the web or visit social networks. You see advertisements in which well-known Belgians recommend a product or service.    
  • You receive an e-mail that seems to come from a well-known online shop with a great offer. Or a notification that you have won a prize. However, the message has been sent by a scammer, which is also called phishing

The advert usually plays on your desire to get a good deal. The fraudster offers the product much cheaper than what you find in other online shops. You click on the link and:  

  • you land on a website that perfectly reproduces a well-known online shop. But the web address is wrong. For example b0l.com (with the number zero) instead of bol.com.   
  • you come across an online shop that, at first glance, looks legitimate and offers a wide range of products. But if you look closely, something is wrong. The contact details are missing, the company registration number, etc.  
  • you find yourself in a well-known and trusted online shop. But the product you want is not offered directly by the online shop. It is a third party that offers the product via 'dropshipping'. This means that the webshop does not store the product itself. And the seller, a third party, does not store the product either. The seller has to get it himself first and only then sends it to you. Sometimes, in this case, the product even has to come from outside Europe yet!  

What damage can fake webshops do to you?   

When buying from a fake webshop, you may be affected in several ways. For a start, you may never receive your package, or you may have to wait months for it to arrive. Or, you may receive your package but the product does not match your order:  

  • The quality of the product is not up to standard, for example a plastic handbag instead of the expected leather.   
  • The content of the product deviates from your order, e.g. an ink cartridge for your printer of 11 instead of the expected 19 ml.   
  • The product is not original, but a cheap imitation of an electronic device such as a smartphone or smartwatch. It does not carry the CE mark and can therefore be dangerous.   
  • You didn't read the fine print when you ordered and signed up for a subscription that forces you to buy a certain amount of this product each month.