How to Identify Fake Shoe Websites: 8 Ways to Avoid Scams

It has never been easier to shop for shoes online. Sadly, it also has never been easier to create a fake website. To help protect fellow shoe lovers from these scammers, we put together this guide on how to tell if the website you’re shopping on is only out to rip you off.

You don’t even need to do a Whois search, a domain name registration check, or anything technical. The following 8 red flags should already tip you off that a website is a scam right at first glance. We’ll also show you websites to avoid and the 10 best shoe stores online!

1. The URL looks wrong or suspicious

You can’t expect a legitimate transaction to happen from a website with a URL that reads “cheapdesignershoes,” “designershoeswholesale,” or “brand-name-shoes-outlet.” However, some scam websites have gotten creative.

In the image below, you can see how they have worked around the suspicious URL problem by using other seemingly innocent-looking albeit non-shopping-related URLs. If you click on them, they redirect to another website, which is a clear sign that a shopping website is fake.

Fake Louboutin websites

2. The website uses poor English

If a shopping website makes you ask if you’re on an online store or Engrish.com, then you should probably close the tab. No legitimate e-commerce site would publish misspellings and bad grammar. Valid sites would put more effort into the product names, descriptions, and overall content.

Stay away from a website that instructs you to get your shoe size like this:

The website uses poor English

There’s a lot more leeway for mistakes in the product feedback, but be suspicious if a buyer reviews “sexy red stiletto heel platform shoes” when the actual item is a pair of polka-dotted pumps.

If a shopping website makes you ask if you're on an online store or Engrish.com, then you should probably close the tab

3. The product images are stolen

If the photos of the products a site is selling are not uniform, it’s a big, flashing red sign that they were just taken from other websites. Legitimate websites use their own images taken by their own photographers. Fake websites, on the other hand, just take images off the internet.

The product images in the website are stolen pictures

Below are two examples of images that were obviously lifted from other websites. We’ve been shoppers at Neiman Marcus for a long time, so we know that the shoe images on the left are theirs. In the image on the right, you can even still see the celebrity cropped out of the original pic.

copied shoe images fake websites

Scam sites also typically offer many of the same products using the same pictures.

Scam sites also typically offer many of the same products using the same pictures

4. They don’t accept credit cards

It’s very easy to copy and paste credit card images on a website, but on fake ones, they are only there for show. Scammers don’t like credit card payments because credit card companies can give the customer his/her money back if a dispute is filed.

Watch out for a website that accepts Western Union and Moneygram. Through those anonymous direct cash payment services, scammers can run away with your money scot-free.

It's very easy to copy and paste credit card images on a website, but on fake ones, they are only there for show

5. The deals are too good to be true

Limited edition, out-of-production Christian Louboutins for $205? Get outta here! No, seriously, get out of the website.

The shoes sent to you will most likely be pirated or fake, that is if they are even sent to you at all. The old adage prevails: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

too good to be true scam website

6. The contact email addresses are free ones

You don’t even have to contact a website that uses a free Hotmail email account to know that it’s fake. If they provide a phone number, call during business hours to check if anyone answers.

If they provide a street address, look it up on Google Maps to see if a business at that location really exists. Be wary if a website only has a contact form and provides no contact information whatsoever.

The contact email addresses are free ones

7. The site’s payment or checkout page does not begin with “https.”

Any kind of payment, checkout, or shopping cart page must have a URL that starts with “https.” If a website asks you to fill out a form and the URL for that page only begins with “http,” don’t enter anything and exit that page immediately.

On unsecured pages, anyone can hack your information, and you can stand to lose a lot more than just your hard-earned cash.

8. Still in doubt? Do a Google search

A reputable shoe retailer like Zappos has been mentioned millions of times on the Internet. Try looking up the retailer that you’re planning to buy from. You should quickly be able to get an idea of how long the website has been around and which websites are linking to it.

A reputable shoe retailer like Zappos has been mentioned millions of times on the Internet

Examples of Fake Shoe Websites

Be extremely careful if you intend to purchase shoes from the following websites. They are known to steal product images from other retailers and the shoes are often knockoffs of poor quality from China.

  1. Dresswe
  2. Shoespie
  3. DHgate
  4. AliExpress
  5. Tidebuy
  6. FSJ Shoes
  7. Mollyca
  8. Sandkini
  9. Joy Shoetique
  10. Chellysun
  11. Chic Me
  12. Make Me Chic

If you purchase from a fake shoe website, please note that it’s possible that you’ll get a shoe of some kind. However, we can almost guarantee that you will be disappointed. Don’t end up like the lady below!

A racegoer suffers a broken heelA racegoer suffers a broken heel during day one of Royal Ascot at Ascot Racecourse on June 19, 2012, in Ascot, England

Best Online Shoe Stores

While we think Nordstrom is the best shoe store online, there are hundreds of legitimate retailers to choose from.

To make your shoe shopping experience way easier, we’ll show you the 10 best online shoe stores to start your shoe shopping:

1. Nordstrom (why we think it’s the best shoe store)

2. Amazon

3. Zappos

4. Saks Fifth Avenue

5. ShoeDazzle (boots from $9.99)

6. Matches Fashion

7. Bergdorf Goodman

8. Shoes.com (owned by Walmart)

9. Bloomingdale’s‎

10. Steve Madden

Credit: WENN

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Filed Under: Shoes Buying Guide

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