Online sales are rising yearly, surpassing $870 billion in 2021, a 50% increase from 2019. Due to the pandemic, many companies and organizations have moved to the digital platform. Unfortunately, due to this fact, online fraud is growing at the same rate. This article is about dealing with shopping scams and protecting yourself and your confidential data from them.
Steps to Prevent Online Shopping Scams
According to statistics provided by the Better Bureau, online purchases are considered the most common targets for fraudsters. Although these statistics do not cover all buyers on the Internet, we still need to know how to prevent that low risksho of fraud.
1. Avoid phishing attacks: don’t click on emails.
Phishing attacks occur when a receiver falls for a malicious actor’s trickery by clicking a link in the email or sending personal information in the email reply. The email usually looks like it came from a legitimate company or person, but a tiny detail often makes it look different from the actual brand name. A website that looks legitimate with the correct logo and colors might be wrong. Follow the link only when you are sure of the authenticity of the letter. Online shopping scams, as you may guess, usually try to impersonate Amazon, Aliexpress, eBay, Wallmart et cetera. Be especially attentive with messages from them.
2. Look for HTTPS.
When shopping on a website, ensure that the SSL is in the HTTPS portion of the domain. If your browser tries to load a website without an SSL, it may warn you that the website is not secure. Without HTTPS, it will be possible to steal all data entered into the payment form, equivalent to sending fraudsters a photo of your bank card from both sides.
3. Shop in your browser, not an app.
Not all applications are legitimate and secure. Before making in-app purchases, ensure you have installed it from the official source (Google Play or App Store), so your transactions are secure. Still, it is not so easy to review the benevolence of an application, even if you’ve got it from a legit source. The program you are familiar with can one day be uncovered as malicious as it was collecting the data, so it is way better to rely upon the web browser.
4. Use a strong password.
You can save your login and password for frequently visited sites. But these passwords must be strong, with complex characters, letters, and numbers combinations. This will make it harder for a hacker to get to your account. Also, remember that passwords for different sites should be different too. Modern browsers offer secure and strong passwords that are generated automatically, but they are pretty hard to remember. Choose what’s best for you.
5. Secure your bank accounts.
No matter what type of credit card you use, debit or credit, you need to set additional security levels. Since scammers break cards more often than you can imagine, it is important to isolate most of your savings from the potentially exposed area. For example, creating a virtual card only for Internet payment will expose only this card if something goes wrong. Shopping scams do not stop on the bank cards, but the most sensitive loss may be cut off in that way. Refill it with the sum you need only before the payment – and crooks will get a small sum or even nothing from your card. Additionally, you can set an Internet payments limit for this card – it will restrict the sum the crooks will take from your card, additionally notifying you about the unusual transaction. You can also turn off Internet payment altogether and enable this feature only if necessary. The final step may be the request for a dynamic CVV code, which changes in a set period of time. Not each bank offers such a service, but without an actual CVV, there is no way to get a penny from your card.
6. If the price is too good to be true, it probably is untrue.
Be careful with sellers who place too low prices on products. Of course, it may seem tempting, but when ordering such products, you will likely receive a poor copy or a wrong item. This is a trap that many sellers use to take more customers from their competitors. Read as many reviews as possible, and buy products from trusted sources.
The number of threats and attacks from fraudsters is growing as fast as the development of new technologies and everything. It would help if you were more careful when using the Internet because it may affect the integrity of your privacy. Follow all the above steps, and don’t make rash online purchases. Ignoring all the tips mentioned above, you risk becoming a victim of fraud.