Top 8 Smart Tips to Avoid Online Shopping Scams
Retail stores have been growing in demand with increasing convenience offered by online shopping to consumers. However, with ease and comfort, there are security concerns with greater possibilities of online scams and frauds where hackers can gain access to sensitive information associated with online transactions. Most of these scamming websites trick users by copying logos and designs from authentic websites
What exactly are online shopping scams in the first place?
Scammers tend to appear as a real business online by setting up fake websites that look like genuine stores by creating advertisements to trick users into clicking on them. These ads are generally displayed on your social media feeds, and they may be hard to figure out. It would help if you were vigilant about how you may be tricked into buying something from a scam website.
It’s always recommended to do research about the company from where you are planning to purchase your products. Check out for fake shopping sites that may lure you into buying their products at unbelievable prices. Avoid buying products from e-commerce stores that lack details regarding contact details or terms and conditions or privacy policies.
Phishing is another common technique used by hackers to steal information, including credit card details, passwords, or logins. Often, the scammers pose themselves to be from large enterprises to win the trust of their customers and send them emails or messages, including spammy links.
How to prevent online shopping scams?
Beware of suspicious emails
If you get order confirmation emails from the company from where you haven’t placed any orders, then it could be the target of a scam. Check for links that you get through your email, and if they do not direct you to the company’s website or the official store, delete the link immediately. Sometimes, you may get fake deals and offers in your inbox from online companies that may contain spammy or malicious content.
Use strong and reliable passwords
Password protection is essential for safeguarding your personal information and using securely for all your online transactions. Especially with multiple email accounts, social media platforms, and login information, it’s necessary to choose passwords with a combination of lowercase and uppercase letters, including special characters. Besides, it’s important to change passwords regularly for your accounts and refrain from using the same passwords for all your accounts.
Choose a secure mode of payment
Credit cards are known to offer better security protection for online transactions against frauds and data thefts. At the same time, payment on delivery of goods seems to be a far better option as it allows you to verify the products, and in case the product takes a longer time to be delivered, it may be canceled easily. Also, you do not need to share your card details or other personal information online. It’s always better to use PayPal and credit cards on trusted sites.
Use SSL encryption for enhanced security
It’s best to use encryption such as HTTPS to secure your communication across the networks. SSL ensures your data and information remains private to the users. Hence, it’s best to check for SSL certificate on online shopping sites to keep your information safe and prevent access by spammers. Many providers offer cheap EV SSL certificates, which is ideal for website owners who wish to secure multiple sub-domains with a single SSL certificate.
Install anti-virus software with updates
Online security of shopping sites can be enhanced by having anti-virus software which can keep your system safe and provide a safe browsing experience to your users. Invest in an anti-virus software that offers an online internet security mechanism. Also, most software companies provide regular updates and fixes for some of the system associated problems and to fix vulnerabilities. Use the latest patches and fixes for your system to keep them updated.
Check for customer ratings and recommendations
If you do a Google search for online shopping sites and scams, you may be able to come across information regarding illegitimate and fake shopping sites.
Moreover, you can get links to scam monitoring sites which give access to forums and discussions with real experiences shared by customers on such websites. Reseller ratings are yet another useful resource where you may be able to find reviews from customers and ratings on sellers.
Email the online store before making a purchase
It may be a good idea to send an email to online stores for making inquiries regarding the product which you intend to buy. Usually, all branded and reputed shopping sites will have contact information to get in touch with them via email or phone numbers. If you think they are genuine, then it’s best to make a small purchase from the store before placing bulk orders to reduce any losses.
Stay away from fake coupon sites
Many survey sites ask users to enter their personal information by luring them to click on coupons. If the link leads to some unknown websites, it’s best not to share any information as they may be a ploy by scammers to gather information or spread malware through malicious content. Primarily, there are fake sites that may offer huge discounts, which may not be true and may be part of a scam.
Online shopping can be quite exciting while purchasing goods in the comfort of your home. Still, the experience can be devastating if scammers target you as it can lead to loss of valuable personal information. You can also prevent shopping frauds by keeping a check on essential things, including vendor ratings and reviews, shopping on HTTPS only sites and be careful while sharing credit card details or any other transaction-related information while dealing with unknown shopping sites.
Many phishing sites may look safe, but they target customers. Hence, e-commerce websites must consider having SSL certificates to protect the interests of their customers with a safe and secure browsing experience. Also, make sure to follow the tips which we’ve shared above to prevent online shopping scams.