How to detect and protect yourself from a fraudulent merchant site?

How to detect and protect yourself from a fraudulent merchant site
How to detect and protect yourself from a fraudulent merchant site

Last updated: July 16, 2022

Do you think you know everything about internet scams? Think again ! More than a million and a half French people are victims of internet scams every year. And that's without counting those who don't dare talk about it.

The site allows you to report them, or even get advice on how to resolve certain problems, but it would be even better not to be fooled, right?

So, how to verify a website and protect yourself against online scams ?

The French Cyberscore project

So that Internet users can know the security and reliability of the sites they frequent, the French government has just approved in parliament the creation of a new tool: called Cyberscore.

Like the Nutriscore for food products, Cyberscore aims to define the level of security of digital platforms, messaging services and merchant sites.

However, this system will not come into force until October 2023. And of course, you will not wait until 2023 to validate the sites you visit.

What to do then? Fortunately, you have a choice between labels, community sites and browser extensions.

Here is 5 tools that can help you verify a merchant site.

Google Information Transparency

Who better than the internet giant to check the security of a website. Billions of URLs are scanned daily to detect suspicious websites, including thousands of new suspicious sites every day, including many legitimate websites that have been infected.

You can search to see if a particular website is unsafe. Be careful, however: it will inform you about the malicious potential of a link. But it won't tell you anything about its commercial reliability.


Captain Drop

Captain Drop is a platform that helps you save money by finding the product you want at the best price.

Instead of paying four times the price for products from China, Captain Drop checks the sites and tells you where you can find the same products but strangely for much less.

It is available online or through a mobile phone app.



Web of Trust (WOT) is a free tool that determines whether a site is potentially dangerous or not. It takes the form of a web browser extension which indicates, using symbols, trusted sites on which you can buy without any risk. This symbol takes the form of a circle whose color ranges from green (reliable) to red (dangerous).

Thanks to a very active user community, many sites are rated and deemed reliable, unreliable or dangerous. WOT thus saves considerable time for Internet users who are looking for online reviews.


To learn how to use the WOT extension, watch this article: Check if a site is trustworthy before accessing it

France Verif

France Verif analyzes many elements of a site for you: physical address, legal notices, technologies used or even popularity.

It is based on 127 different evaluation criteria, for a comprehensive look. little bonus, it is available in extension on most browsers!



VirusTotal is an online tool owned by Google (Alphabe) that enables website analysis and facilitates rapid detection of all kinds of malware.

Virus Total relies on the analysis of dozens of the best-known or most specialized cybersecurity solutions. Among them, you will find Kaspersky or BitDefender, which can be quite reassuring.

To do this, go to the URL tab of Virus Total and launch the analysis of the site about which you have any doubts.


How to avoid pitfalls?

There are many other tools to detect a fraudulent website, it is impossible to list them all here; on the other hand we can give you some indicators of reliability of a website which are not misleading:

  • An unsecured merchant site with an SSL certificate.
  • Internal and external links that do not work.
  • The absence of general conditions of sale and / or legal notices.
  • A URL that does not match that of the brands.
  • The presence of many spelling errors.
  • Much lower prices than the competition.
  • Negative reviews about Trustpilot Reviews Buy.