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How to avoid the dangers of online shopping - who to trust?



E-commerce in Georgia is becoming more and more popular every day among people of all generations. The availability of the internet and the ease of shopping online makes the process convenient, but there is a problem that consumers face - is the online company trustworthy? Will we get the product we signed up for? In the area  of consumer protection, 65% of the complaints filed with the National Competition Agency from November 2022 to July 2023, relate to the online shopping.


So, what do you need to know to avoid being scammed when buying a product online?


Check the website address of the online shop


Online shops operating in the e-commerce industry need their own digital space to place a product or service. Unscrupulous companies very often create fake websites for this purpose, which are not secure and not protected with the appropriate certificate. This is indicated by HTTPS - Secure Data Transfer Protocol and the lock symbol on the website address in the left corner. If the site begins with http, the "s" symbol is omitted and the lock is not visible, it means that the site is not protected by a certificate and is therefore not secure. Internet transactions should only be made on secure sites.


You can check the reliability of a domain on the following sites: Scamadviser.com and VirusTotal.com. These sites provide information about the date the site was created. If the site was created recently or the time of registration does not coincide with the date indicated  by the company, we are most likely dealing with a suspicious online seller.


Pay attention to the trust  mark


The TRUSTMARK is becoming increasingly important in e-commerce, it is a guarantee of a reliable e-commerce purchase and is widely recognized around the world. The trust mark comes in many forms and can be a logo, a photo or a symbol that companies usually indicate on their website (online shop). If a company has TRUSTMARK, it means that it complies with the regulations of the organization that issued the mark. Accordingly, TRUSTMARK may be issued by different organizations, which means that the level of security and service provision may differ depending on the requirements of different agencies.


In Georgia, this mark appeared on the initiative of the Ecommerce  Association Georgia. The trustmark awarded by the Aassociation is a green mark. E-commerce platforms in Georgia can get TrustMark certification by referring to the detailed guide of Ecommerce Association Georgia. The certification process involves evaluating companies on criteria such as data security, transparency of business practices, and commitment to customer satisfaction.


Look for the online shop's trust mark on the website or in the company description to ensure you're dealing with an online shop that has been audited and fully respects consumer rights in the digital world.


Search for contact information

Before you decide to make a purchase online, it is important to find the contact information, terms and conditions of the online shop. On the page of a reliable seller, you will definitely see a phone number, email and address, giving you the opportunity to ask questions and verify who is behind the online shop.


Look at the texts and content


Texts and visuals say a lot about the creator and how professional the person is. A professional internet marketer knows his product or service well and tries to create original posts on social media. In contrast, in case of a fraudster we see:

  • machine translation of texts, and sometimes of the site as a whole;

  • stolen photo-video materials taken from the Internet or from the page of an existing similar business;

  • slightly modified versions of the name of an existing business in the company name;

  • spelling mistakes.


Check payment methods


You should be suspicious of an online shop in case it  asks for financial information and credit card details as the only available means of payment. Do not share  personal information and card details with  such sites. Do not give  your username, password and one-time code for logging into online banking to anyone. This is your personal property.


Tell me who his follower is and I will tell you who he is


Social media and Google tell us a lot about a particular internet company. A little research on the internet is one good thing to do. Unreliable online sellers have fewer subscribers, fewer customers on such pages, and therefore fewer reviews. And even if such companies do have subscribers, their accounts are fake.


Paying attention to the above signs will help you minimize the risks of online shopping. Remember to trust only reputable online shops with reliable payment systems so that your personal and financial information is protected and you can continue shopping online with peace of mind.


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