In the past, fake online shopping sites were very easy to recognize due to their unprofessional and sloppy presentation paired with poor translations of the product texts. Fast forward to this era, things have become more difficult in Germany as well.
You can’t help to notice an increasing professionalization of fake online shop offers in combination with quite cheap, but not exorbitantly cheap prices, in which even inexperienced shoppers are not immediately suspicious.
“A few years ago, fake shops are quickly recognized, because they were just created badly with spelling mistakes or missing imprint, they are now much more professional,” says Ulrich Kaiser, prevention expert at the police headquarters Mittelhessen in Giessen.
Right now, in the context of special offers in cyber-week, the police is once again warning of the growing danger emanating from the fake shops. There are often branded products at prices that seem attractive to many customers.
What is advised?
Online shoppers in Germany are therefore advised to take a closer look at previously unknown shops that are not covered by platforms such as Ebay or Amazon Marketplace. Checking relevant rating portals for online shops and a Google search will be helpful.
For retailers, it can also be helpful to use seals such as the Trusted Shops logo – in this case, purchases up to 100 euros can be secured free of charge, and for a fee. In many cases, a look at the imprint is helpful – If this is missing completely or if it consists only of an email address, then more caution is required.
If the shop only offers payment before delivery and / or obscure payment systems (payment systems that are not common in Germany), one should understand this as an fraud signal.
According to the crime statistics, almost 272,000 cases of cybercrime were reported nationwide in 2018. More than a third of these (35.3 percent) were in the area of goods fraud. This includes, on the one hand, cases in which the paid goods are not delivered or instead of the ordered quality junk goods arrives.
In Hesse alone, almost 21,300 cases of online fraud were registered last year. Overall, the fraud of goods leads to the crime statistics around the topic of the Internet.