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Doctor Web warns against online store scams on Russian Internet

April 22, 2016

Online shopping has long become one of the most convenient ways to purchase products or services. Millions of people find it faster to log on to a website to buy what they want rather than stand in a long queue and wait for their turn. Today, almost anything can be purchased online—starting from food to electrical goods. In addition, numerous online stores offer affordable prices, fast delivery, and a wide variety of payment methods. However, not only potential customers take full advantages of online shopping but also cybercriminals do to conduct their illegal activity.

At present, number of cases involving online shopping scam continues to grow. To make a profit out of gullible Internet users, attackers implement diverse fraud schemes. In this paper, we are going to focus on one of them that is quite popular on the Russian Internet judging from the number of people affected by it.

As a rule, this scheme starts from emergence of some online store, which offers its customers to buy expensive electronic goods, photography equipment, garden or construction tools, jewelry, and many other products on a very attractive price. Such stores have a big number of positive recommendations published by allegedly happy customers, and its URL is very much alike to URLs of other popular online stores. In addition, these fraudulent websites contain such standard information as their office address, a contact number (answered by a dispatcher), and a founding company’s name. Yet, it is noteworthy that all of them are created using one and the same website template.

screen #drweb

Scammers provide fast delivery of goods to any Russian region and offer to pay for them by using QIWI Wallet, a bank card, POS terminals, or other payment services. The only one important condition is that a potential victim has to make a full prepayment.

Having made the prepayment, the victim waits for a purchase confirmation. However, after some time, the website and the phone number become unavailable, and all messages sent by the scammed user to the contact email address are returned. In several days, the same shop with similar range of goods but with a different name and URL emerges on the Internet.

Usually, it is rather problematic to track down these scammers because they use voice-over-IP (VoIP) service to organize their underground activity, and fly-by-night companies, stolen documents, and figureheads—to be able to withdraw money from the account.

Unfortunately, the growing number of such scams can be explained by the fact that victims

  • Are often tricked by an unbelievably low price of a product or by attractive benefits that advertised goods or services might have, which sounds too good to be true.
  • Neglect to look up when a domain of the online store was registered, by using any WHOIS service.
  • Do not search for or pay attention to feedback about the chosen online store.
  • Do not use any online map service for finding the location of the office or a warehouse of the online store to make sure that there is not wasteland or an abandoned factory on this place.

Therefore, Doctor Web strongly recommends to be careful when shopping online and to make purchases only from reliable online stores.

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