The online shoppers who spend most of their time scouring the internet for purchasing products from various websites are often the best trap for hackers and cybercriminals. They use multiple tactics to rob the Ecommerce customers out of their money (financial fraud) or scam them by not sending their bought products or not addressing their issues.
How To Prevent Getting Scammed or Defrauded Conducting Online Shopping?
There are many cybersecurity measures that need attention for you to be sound, safe, and secure while you engage yourself in shopping online across websites. These security measures will make sure to keep you out of the grip of such notorious threat actors, and you minimize the risks of potential scamming. Here we have discussed the essential tips for every online shopper to follow.
- Shop On Reputed Websites:
The reputed websites are less likely to scam people online. Also, if you want to explore a new website for the sole purpose of knowing it, it is recommended that you always read the online reviews of both the website and its products. Make sure to bookmark the websites so that it will just be one or two clicks away next time you visit. A typo of even one character can land you on a phishing website that resembles the original one. And paying on the phishing websites means forcing your money into the scammer’s wallet.
- Website Verification Comes First:
The scammers are always reaching out for new ways to get you. They put up the real contact details on the fake website just as to give a look and feel of the original one. If you see such contact information, call on the number and cross-check the website address and other contact details. Additionally, you must go through the reviews on the website and its products. Some reviews are manipulated. If you are not convinced, feel free not to invest.
- Avoid Beguiling Deals and Offers:
Most of the time, you may find beguiling deals and offers on the social media explore page. Some of them even provide free stuff. Do not fall for that instantly unless you verify it. Before purchasing anything from the website, make sure to compare the prices of the products. If there are considerable differences in the prices, you may take that as a scam website waiting to rob your money.
- Shop Via Smartphones:
Shopping via smartphones is the latest trend. The new concept of shopping on the go has forced the shopping portal authorities to release apps for both Android and iOS. You should download the apps from the Google Playstore or Apple Store. You may also visit the shopping website’s portal and locate the links or buttons to download the app.
- Don’t Use Public Wi-Fi:
Public Wi-Fi is tremendously alluring as people often crave free internet. But they fail to understand that they are exposing themselves to potential threats. Public Wi-Fi can be hacked, and your credentials can be stolen. You may also get bankrupt if the hackers managed to get past your bank’s account and security.
- Use A Premium VPN:
Free VPNs are all over the internet. Little does someone know that they come with specific limitations, and some of them even contain malware? When you download the free VPN contaminated with malware, your device gets malware infected as well. Thus, it is better to spend some penny and invest in a premium VPN that supports all devices. VPN protects your identity, making it difficult for hackers to trace your credentials unless you provide them upfront.
- Employ Hard-To-Guess Passwords:
Passwords can be both constructive and destructive. While passwords help you secure your accounts, your mobile devices, and other financial accounts, it is prone to get breached if you have set up a password that is weak enough. Thus, you need to employ strong passwords that are hard to guess by anyone. The best password combination is to use alphabets, numbers, and symbols in a way that no one can crack. Another important thing to keep in mind is to lie to the security questions when setting them. Do not use common passwords as the device defaults one, your name, surname, birthday, etc.
- Shield Your Computer:
You must install premium antivirus software. Additionally, you need to update your applications and software on a regular basis. The older your firmware is, the more you are exposed to vulnerability and threats. You must employ encryption whenever and wherever possible.
- A Website’s Security Matters:
You must always, without fail check the address bar of a website. Locate the lock pad in the address bar. On hovering over the lock pad, it displays a message “View Site Information”. If you found that, it merely means they are using Secure Sockets Layer encryption or SSL. Monitor the URL to find out if it has HTTP or HTTPS in the beginning. The presence of HTTPS makes sure that your passwords are protected, and all the data you share is secured.
- Stay Away From Email Scams:
Phishing emails that are put out to scam you are a common trend these days. Even with phishing messages that resemble promotional ones, you can get scammed. If you find any email or text messages to be suspicious, you must delete them immediately and from the trash as well. Do not respond to such emails and texts and make sure you do not click on the links or download any file.
- Protect Your Personal Information:
The online shopping websites never ask you to provide your SSN or Social Security Number to them. If any website asks you for your SSN number, never offer it to them. In fact, you must avoid that website as it could scam you. Also, you must choose what information to provide and what not against each website and each seller.
- Credit Cards Vs Debit Cards:
Choosing credit cards over debit cards is a better option. The credit card restricts direct contact with your bank, and hence your bank’s information remains protected. Moreover, most credit cards offer you zero dollars liability for fraud. This means that even if a hacker acquires your details, he would not be able to carry out a purchase. Your credit card will always put out questions that he has to answer. Failing to which he may get trapped. In case your credit card company gets to know about fraud, they will immediately replace your hacked card with a new one.
- Go for Smartphone Transactions:
Smartphone transactions are the best. All you have to do is just open an app for mobile transactions, enter the passcode or fingerprint or face unlock and pay the money. You are not required to carry any cards to the physical stores if they accept phone transactions. You can also use mobile payment apps like Google Pay and Apple Pay. Gift cards are also another option to consider.
- Virtual Credit Card Is A Win-Win:
Virtual credit cards are also useful as they ensure extra security when you pay online. Some credit card issuers provide you with a virtual number that is directly linked to your actual credit card. The online scammers would never be able to use your virtual card even if they have the number.
- Identify A Fraud:
You must check your bank account statement frequently. This aids you in tracking all the unusual transactions that might have been made. Alternatively, it is advisable that you set up alerts for your accounts. Whenever there is an unauthorized login, you will be informed, and you can take measures accordingly.
- Store Details Safely:
Whenever you make a purchase online, you will be furnished with the order related details. You must never delete them or lose them. This provided information will help you later if you face any issues regarding your order.
- Track Your Parcel:
There are possibilities of sellers scamming you by not dispatching your order. Thus, as soon as you receive your tracking ID, you must keep a tab on the package. See if it is moving. If you see that the merchant is refusing to provide any tracking details, contact your credit card issuer at once. They will look into the matter and perhaps remove the charges from your bill.
- Report A Scam:
If you have been scammed, immediately report it to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Additionally, you have to report it to the FBI’s Crime Complaint Center. For any ID theft, take assistance from FTC opting for the identity theft recovery plan.
As companies go digital, it becomes easier for online shoppers to shop from their home. This has even made it easier for scammers and hackers to take advantage of the online shopping going digital. With each passing day, the hackers invent new ways to get their job done. Thus, online shoppers or E-commerce consumers need to be sound every time they are on their smartphones, tablets, and laptops; most notably, when making any transaction.
Also visit: Cyber Security Tips