Purchasing medicines online is one of the most convenient kind of shopping that customers can ever do. The drugs that they need can now be accessed with just a few clicks and the entire process will just take a few minutes. In the past, purchasing meds was only possible by visiting the local drugstores but now it can even be done by using any kind of device that has a browser and has internet access. But along with these progress in medicine shopping, the number of risks that pose as threats to customers also grew. As the number of legitimate online pharmacies increased, the number of the scam pharmacies also increased with them which is really alarming.
Scam or fake pharmacies are sites that appear to be genuine and operational but in reality, they are just fronts which are used by scammers to steal credit card data and personal information. They have the interface of a real online pharmacy with all the medicines and necessary information but they don’t send the customers anything as they’re only out to steal from them. But some scam drugstores are even more dangerous as what they’re doing is they send medicines but the drugs that they are sending the customers are fake or expired ones which will put the users in even greater danger.
Avoid Scam Pharmacies
But even if this is the case, there are steps that can be followed by customers to avoid falling for these scam pharmacies. These steps will not only help them avoid the fake ones but will also help them find the legitimate ones that sell the medicines that they need. If a customer will faithfully follow these steps before deciding to order and making a purchase, they are guaranteed to have a safe online shopping.
Safe Online Shopping: How to Spot a Fake Pharmacy
No padlock icon
Legitimate online pharmacies always have the padlock icon before their domain name and says “Secure”. The padlock icon means that the site uses secure connections and that the customer is on a verified website. Instead of HTTP, it would read HTTPS on the domain name of the pharmacy which stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure. HTTPS sites uses SSL certificates to encrypt the information that the customers are putting into the forms which makes these data inaccessible to outside sources. Online pharmacies that have a padlock icon on its domain name and uses HTTPS are legitimate and all the information that the customers will be putting in will only be between them and the pharmacy.
Buyers should stay away from pharmacy sites without these traits as they are most likely scam sites. Legit online pharmacies prioritize their customer’s security and would not put them at risk by making their sites unprotected.
No contact details provided or unreachable contact numbers
This is one of the characteristics of a fake pharmacy that customers should watch out for. Fake pharmacies would never want to be contacted by the people that it has scammed so it would provide no contact information to them either by phone or mail. But to appear genuine, some scam drugstores will put phone numbers or emails in their “Contact Us” page just to get the customer’s confidence. What the customers should do is test them on whether they will receive a response. If they get nothing, then it’s a fake online drugstore.
Additional Traits of Fake Pharmacies
Customer reviews with no timestamps
This should already raise an alarm to the customers that the online pharmacy they are dealing with is a bogus one if its onsite reviews have no timestamps available. This only shows that the reviews are likely falsified and fabricated to deceive customers into believing that their site is excellent and trusted by many people. Legitimate online pharmacies have timestamps on their reviews which tells that they are real-time. Genuine pharmacy reviews are also transparent, showing the negative reviews along with the positive ones. Buyers should also do a background check before proceeding with their purchases by first looking for outside reviews to the pharmacy. If what they get are positive ones even from the independent review sites, then they should be safe. But if what they get from the outside review sites are bad, then the site must be bad.
Selling of unapproved drugs
It is a known fact that not all drugs are legal in all countries. There are countries where certain drugs are legal and there are some countries where these legal medicines are prohibited. Legitimate online pharmacies are aware of these limitations and would not sell products to a customer if the meds they are trying to purchase is unapproved in their country. Permitting the sale of drugs to a customer in a country where it’s unapproved is equivalent to breaking the law. Online drugstores who will not refuse a customer in these circumstances are likely fake since pharmacies who will cross the line will face prosecution.
Appears as rogue in pharmacy checking sites
Rogue Pharmacy Warning
There are websites in the internet that customers can use in order for them to know if an online pharmacy is registered. These pharmacy-checking sites have large databases that will enable them to know if a drugstore is indeed operating legitimately or just a fraud one. They are also able to detect the age of the site’s domain and if it’s less than a year old, the pharmacy site is likely a sham. Pharmacy-checking websites also have a means of knowing the exact location of an online pharmacy, revealing its real location. Fake pharmacies may pretend to be located in the US or Canada but the fraud-detecting sites will show that they are located in some remote parts of the world.
It’s really important to be always cautious when making online purchases of medicines since scammer-operated fake pharmacies are also becoming more and more sophisticated. But even if they are, their basic characteristics will never change and will always allow the customers to find out what they really are. As long as customers will always be cautious, they will know if an online pharmacy is legit or not.