Safety is the priority when it comes to shopping drugs online. Yes, online shopping of medicines is very easy to do and very convenient but it also carries a great risk because of the growth in numbers of scam pharmacies in the recent years. There are still thousands of online pharmacies that operate legitimately but taking advantage of the opportunity, scammers made themselves genuine-looking pharmacies whose goal is only to fish credit card information from the unsuspecting customers. This scheme has been largely successful and as a result, it also affected the way people see legit online drugstores. To avoid being swindled again, most of them resorted to buying their meds from local pharmacies where the prices are expensive. Regardless of the price, it’s much better than being scammed, they say.
But there are surefire ways to determine whether an online pharmacy is a fake or legitimate and it’s easy. There are certain traits that fake online drugstores won’t be able to shake off no matter how much they try. All customers need to do is look for these certain traits on a particular pharmacy site before they proceed with ordering their medicines, checking if they’re indeed safe.
Getting swindled is not the only danger that fake pharmacies pose to customers because some of them send the customers fake or expired medicines, putting the customer’s lives in greater hazard. Of course, the difference between a fake medicine and a real one can hardly be noticed because of the almost-identical packaging which makes it more dangerous.
Fake Drugs are Deadly
These fake meds can be fatal when taken, making the customer’s health condition even worse. Others don’t only steal money and send fake drugs but they also infect the customer’s computer with malware and spyware that enables them to monitor the customer’s computer activities, allowing them to steal valuable personal or financial information that they could use for more activities of theft.
In this article, we will be tackling the characteristics of a fake pharmacy so that customers will not be falling victim to their ploys and strategies. These are very helpful pointers that buyers should remember for them to effectively spot the fake from the real and avoid getting deceived.
Traits of a Fake Online Drugstore
Uses HTTP instead of HTTPS on its domain name
HTTP vs HTTPS
This is one of the most obvious and easy traits that the customers can easily spot to determine on whether a pharmacy is legitimate or not. Fake online drugstores only use HTTP before their domain names. HTTP means Hypertext Transfer Protocol and that means all the data being send and being received by the customer are in plain text and if an outside source intercepts this exchange of data between the customer and the site, everything can be read plainly. Personal information, credit card numbers, passwords, authorization numbers, etc., can be viewed by that outside source and nothing will protect these data from being stolen.
On the other hand, pharmacy sites that use HTTPS on their domain name are the real deal. These are the legitimate ones and customers can purchase from them with no questions asked. HTTPS has the same meaning as the HTTP except that it has a letter S which stands for Secure. Customers will also notice a padlock icon before the HTTPS letters in the domain name of the site, meaning that it uses SSL certificates to encrypt all the data that the customers send and receive. Encryption protects the customer’s info from being stolen and makes the connection between the customer and the server secure.
Sells unapproved medicines
Medicines may be universally good and beneficial but not all medicines are accepted in all countries. Each country has their list of accepted and banned medicines and it varies from country to country. These lists are protected by international laws and any person or entity who transgresses these limitations are punishable by law. If an online drugstore is willing to sell to a certain customer drugs that are prohibited in his/her respective country, that online pharmacy is a fraud. Genuine online drugstores follow the international laws and would not cross lines just to make a profit. There is a reason why certain medicines are not approved in certain countries and only fake drugstores would be willing to bypass these restrictions.
Invalid contact details
Customers should find this part easy to do. Before ordering from online pharmacies, customers should first test the customer service hotlines provided on their websites. Legitimate online pharmacies offer 24/7 customer support and there would always be someone to answer when they dial the numbers on their phones. If a customer tries contacting the hotlines and receives no response, it is highly likely that the online pharmacy they are contacting is a sham. Aside from the hotlines, customers can also test the correspondence page or the Contact Us page of the pharmacy site that they are checking. After sending an email, they should be receiving a response from the email team but if they receive none, they should look for a different store to purchase meds from.
Fake customer reviews
Pharmacy sites whose customer reviews are very redundant are very likely to be fake pharmacies with reviews that are just fabricated. These reviews are likely made by just one person and made it to appear like it was from various clients in an effort to convince customers that their site is legit and receives a lot of reviews. Customers should avoid these sites especially the ones whose customer reviews are overly positive and without any timestamps available.
Customers should be very careful in choosing an online pharmacy to purchase from to avoid falling for the fake pharmacies that only steal from the unsuspecting customers. They should take every safety measure and look for the characteristics mentioned above. Some scam pharmacies may be tricky in looking exactly like legitimate online pharmacies but these are the unshakable qualities that will always give them away.