How To Spot A Fake Online Business

Updated: Feb 22

Are you purchasing products that have showed up in your Facebook feed? You have never heard of this business and it may be the first time you are seeing the product. Somehow it is just what you're looking for and the price can’t be beat anywhere else right?! You NEED to be extremely careful! The business could be fake! 


My best friend just explained to me recently how she was scrolling her Facebook feed and this hi-tech remote control car showed up in her feed. She purchased two and the price came out to be a little over $100. Week one went by and no shipping email. Week two. And then on week three, the business disappeared. Emails sent to find out when the cars were going to ship, came back undeliverable. 100% scammed. 


She isn’t the first. And she definitely won’t be the last. I have a lot of experience with dropshipping and I will be giving you some tips on how to help you spot a fake online business. 


Small online businesses like these are called drop shippers. 

“Drop shipping is a supply chain management method in which the retailer does not keep goods in stock but instead transfers its customer's orders and shipment details to either the manufacturer, another retailer, or wholesaler, who then ships the goods directly to the customer. As in retail business, the majority of retailers make their profit on the difference between the wholesale and retail price, but some retailers earn an agreed percentage of the sales in commission, paid by the wholesaler to the retailer.


The concept of drop shipping model is gaining popularity as the seller does not need to keep any items in stock, nor do they have to take the stress of packing and dispatching. The drop shipper keeps the difference.” Definition is from Wikipedia 


Basically a person that is skilled in setting up a website and ecommerce store, import product data to the store, and sell products without having to carry physical product is called a drop shipper. Drop shipping can be a very lucrative business if done correctly. It’s not limited to side hustles for people just wanting to make an extra buck. Places like Walmart drop ship as well. They use a third party company to sell a product with a higher overhead cost. 


I’m sure you have heard of small business owners complaining about having to pay Facebook to be seen, or how much it eats into their marketing budget to run social media ads. Well, dropshippers set this amount aside specifically for marketing on social media because they know their ROI is going to be double or even triple the marketing costs. 


I won’t get into Facebook marketing too much, just know that yes these drop shipping businesses are targeting you and what you search for. There is absolutely nothing wrong with marketing that way. Facebook gives us business owners these tools and they are 100% legitimate. 


However, there are drop shippers out there that either pick a product and market to advertise, and it became so popular they just can not keep up with the volume and shut their site down, or, they literally advertise the product, you buy it, and they never intended to ship.

 Here are a few ways that you can spot the fake when online shopping:


Check Out Their Site Thoroughly

When you click on the link from Facebook, you are typically taken directly to that product page. Continue to check out the entire website. Are there misspellings or grammar mistakes? 

Check to see if there is a “Contact Us” page. Even if there is one, double check the email address. It should be named after the business itself. 

Is there a return policy?

And most importantly, scroll to the very bottom of any page on the site. There should be a menu at the bottom. Check to see if there is a “Privacy Policy” and a “Terms of Use”. These two are extremely important because if they aren’t there then they are violating the GDPR compliance requirements. 


General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is in place to help protect you, the consumer. It is the regulation that requires businesses to protect the personal data and privacy of its users. In other words, online shoppers that are giving their payment information, as well as other information such as home address and email address. 

The “Terms of Use”  in a nutshell, is how the business/service is run. 

 If neither of those two are listed in the menu at the bottom of the website, that is a HUGE red flag, and you should find the product somewhere else. 

Online Reviews

Does this online business have any customer reviews? If so, what are customers saying about them? 


Social Media Presence

Is this business on social media, other than the Facebook ad you found? Instagram, Pinterest, etc. Yes they are on Facebook, but when you go to their page, what does it look like? Is there any current posting activity? If so, are you able to scroll for a bit and go through posts? 

It is fairly easy these days to start an online business, so maybe they just opened. However, a social media presence is VERY important. A reputable company should be consistantly posting in order to build their brand, and build a following. If it appears that they are not building their brand, then they are more than likely just out for the money and you should run far away. 


Like I said, it is easy to start an online business today, and it is that much easier for people to create online stores and steal your money! Just because it exists online, does not make it so! If it feels bad, it more than likely is! 


Have you ever had a bad online shopping experience?? Tell me what happened in the comments!!





Is your small business struggling with consistant posting on social media? Let me help you! Click here to check out my social media managment services!





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