…it might be a fake online store
This is an online store that claims to sell products but either doesn't deliver or delivers counterfeit goods or collects your personal information to scam you.
75% of New Zealand consumers say they are more likely to buy from a .nz domain. New Zealanders trust .nz websites*.
To keep the .nz namespace trusted and secure, we identify fake online stores, validate their owners' contact details and suspend .nz domain names that violate our rules. It results in fake .nz online stores being shut down.
* Consumers & businesses think differently online - research highlights opportunities, InternetNZ, 2020
Read about the latest .nz scams resulting in domain name suspensions. Be on the lookout to match the domain name with the content you read online.
If you find a mismatch or visit a suspicious website associated with a .nz domain name, report it immediately to CERT NZ.
You can tell us too. We also have a list of organisation scam alerts that may involve a .nz domain name so consumers can recognise and avoid scams.
Shopping online — it’s something most of us do regularly. It’s fast and convenient, but there is the possibility that the item you just purchased isn’t genuine, or won’t arrive, or worse, your details are stolen.
We have put together some of our top tips to help you spot if a website might be a scam.
Does the site's name match the goods?
If the site's address says boats and it sells make-up, the online store is possibly fake.
Domain names (the website's address, e.g. ours is dnc.org.nz) can expire or not be renewed. Anyone can register a domain name once it is available again.
Domain names associated with popular websites in the past can be a target for scammers. They may register that domain, build an unrelated website, and scam people.
Is the offer too good to be true?
As the old saying goes, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. Unbelievably large discounts on brand name products, promotions that guarantee big prizes, testimonials that look too good can all be warning signs.
All of the above can be a tactic to pressure you to purchase as quickly as possible before you have a chance to think about the offer.
What payment options are available?
If the site displays multiple payment options (such as Visa, Mastercard, Afterpay, PayPal), but only one is available during checkout, it is a warning sign!
To look more legitimate and create a false sense of security, fake online stores display multiple payment options but only let you choose one.
Look and feel
Check images on the website. Are they good quality, consistent in style, or a mismatched set of photos?
Pay attention to the language. Spelling mistakes and obvious grammar errors can be telltale signs.
It could be that someone has copied and pasted text and ‘borrowed’ images from all over the Internet to create a fake online store.
Contact details, delivery and returns
Before making an online purchase, check:
- Is there a store location, phone number, email address?
- Can you talk to a person, if needed?
- Can you see where your parcel is coming from?
- Are there clear instructions on how you can return your purchase?
You need to be able to contact the seller if you have any delays, questions or want to return the item. You also need to know where exactly your parcel comes from, New Zealand or overseas, so you can estimate a delivery time and easily return the item without paying huge unexpected costs for international postage.
Fake online stores are often unclear about their location, and their owners don’t want to be contacted.
Check the WHOIS information
If the site name ends in .nz, you can find out who the site is registered to on the Domain Name Commission website. It is called a WHOIS search.
If the domain name ends in .com, you can use ICANN’s WHOIS service.
Have a look at the registration information: are there any discrepancies? Sometimes, when registering a domain for a fake online store, a scammer will add an obviously fake name or address.
Traders must be who they say they are online, so check out those domain registration details!
Check for scam reports and reviews
Search online the name of the website or business with the terms "scam" or "review" after it.
Chances are, if the site is a scam, others have already been burned and may have posted reviews online. If possible, it is good to compare reviews on multiple sites.