Online sales fraud

Making online purchases from the comfort of your home is easy, but it can be risky too. If you’re not careful, scammers can enter your living room just like that.

That’s why ECC Belgium is sharing its knowledge about online sales fraud. The most important tip: always do the WebshopCheck before you buy. Then you can confirm that you’re on a safe, reliable webshop. In addition, watch out for:

Sales scams via social media

You’re scrolling through your feed and suddenly see an attractive product or a cheap offer. Don’t immediately click the link — check its reliability first. If the offer seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Are you going to click on the link anyway? Take a screenshot of the ad first, as fraudulent posts are difficult to trace later. Only pay via secure web pages, which can be recognised by the padlock symbol or the mention of ‘https’ in the URL. Always choose a secure payment method, such as credit card or PayPal.

Hidden subscriptions

Ads on social media often pull you into a subscription trap. You click on a few links, don’t read the small print ... and without realising it, you end up with an unwanted subscription.

Tip: See the page on hidden subscriptions to learn how you can detect this kind of fraud and the steps you should take if it happens to you.

Sales fraud via second-hand sites and other platforms

Do you like buying second-hand items through specialised platforms and auction sites? That’s a sustainable way to shop, but it’s not without its risks. Always stay on the platform to communicate with the seller, arrange shipping and complete payment.

Is someone insisting that you contact them directly? If so, don’t respond. Testimonies show that many victims have received a fraudulent payment link outside the platform. After clicking on it, their bank account was emptied.

Tip: Want to know more about sales scams? Have a look at the pages on Buying from an online platform and Second-hand platforms and apps: a practical guide.


Some scammers try to make money quickly through an online shop set up through platforms like Shopify and often engage in dropshipping. They offer bargains but don’t carry any stock themselves. They use external, ultra-cheap suppliers and act only as a conduit. In doing so, they’re often violating European consumer law.