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As armchair shoppers, we’re a sitting target for cyber-criminals. Last year, Action Fraud clocked 42,949 incidents of online shopping fraud, with total losses of £58m. So how can you can avoid being scammed?

Experienced online shoppers have learnt to avoid obvious fakes, but scammers can easily clone genuine websites and disguise web addresses – the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) department of the City of London Police told us it suspends an average 1,500 counterfeit websites every month. According to PIPCU, some counterfeit sites will steal the identity of customers to set up more fake sites in their names.

Another risk of buying from counterfeit sites is that you’ll end up with potentially dangerous items, such as electrical goods that don’t meet safety standards. Of course, sometimes scammers won’t even bother shipping you inferior knock-offs – they could just as easily take the money and run. is a free validation site that collects information in realtime so you can evaluate any website, you can also validate your own website to show users you are safe, by placing the doublecheck logo on your homepage.