Shopping online is convenient and economical. But this shopping has its drawbacks. Hackers and other online criminals are constantly trying to deceive buyers with fake offers and discounts. According to a recent report from the Better Business Bureau fraud online shopping is the second most risky type of fraud after fraud when applying for a job, says GOBankingRates.
Photo: DepositphotosOnline shopping concept
Although online purchases do not always lead to identity theft, there are other risks. You can lose money to the fake product or nothing at all to obtain. Knowing the most common types of fraud faced by online buyers you can protect yourself. You should pay attention to?
You are asked to pay by Bank transfer
Please note, if the seller asks you to make a Bank transfer, money transfer, or pay with a gift card. It is likely that your money will be in the pocket of the scammer, and you don’t receive the item. If you want to protect yourself, always pay with a credit card or other safe payment methods.
You received a link in a text message
If you get a random text message asking you to click on a link that advertises some kind of awesome discount or offers to cancel the particular service is likely a fraud. Such references are a way to get you to give out personal information.
“Professional scammers use text messages that urge you to click on links or provide personal information in response to a text message from the recipient, which seems a reliable source,” said Steven J. J. Weisman, author of the book “Identity Theft Alert”. “They will use other strategies.”
You went on a fake website or domain
If you make a purchase on the fake web site, you can get a fake, something completely different from what was advertised, or nothing at all.
One of the ways to determine whether you are viewing a fake site, is to look at the domain name. As a rule, most legitimate URL does not contain any extraneous characters or spelling errors. The websites of retailers have simple names, and usually correspond to their trademarks. For example, the domain name of fashion brand Michael Kors — MichaelKors.com and for Gucci — Gucci.com.
You can also check whether the website of the universal seal of approval, for example, the Norton Secured Seal. Such printing usually indicates that the website is trustworthy, according to Consumer Reports. You can also check when the domain was created using the service Whois.net.
You offer incredible discounts
Let’s say you are faced with is offering a discount of 95% on your favorite products. You click on the ad and are taken to a site where you can make a purchase. There you enter your personal information, to obtain a product. At this point the scammer gets your information and leaves you with nothing.
If you are skeptical about discount, let’s see at what price the product is sold in other stores. A simple price comparison can help you determine whether a transaction is truly legitimate or just an attempt to lure you into a fraudulent trap.
You are using a public Wi-Fi shopping
Be careful when using a public Wi-Fi connection and completely avoid it if you are going to buy goods and enter payment information. In this case, the probability of identity theft increases. Sometimes, Internet criminals create Wi-Fi network, similar to that which you expect to use, hoping for your connection.
Do you receive phishing emails
Sending phishing emails can happen at any time of the year, but the most popular this method of fraud during the holidays. What looks like an email from a reputable retailer indicates the desired discount or reports that something went wrong with your order. In the email usually has a link where you can supposedly go in order to get the stated discount or to solve a problem with the order. However, by clicking on the link, you will download malware onto your computer.
To confirm the validity of the identity of the sender, double-check the email address. In addition, pay attention to spelling mistakes and links that require you to provide your personal information, recommends the website Etsy.
You receive a fake notification about delivery
If you received an email from a major delivery service, for example, from FedEx, stating your parcel is delayed or there is a problem with your order, it may be a phishing Scam. Usually, this kind of e-mail appeal asking you to click the link for more information about the proposed problem. But clicking on the link may lead to downloading malicious programs that hackers use to get information from your computer.
Instead of clicking the link, you should directly visit the website of the shipper and use your tracking number or order confirmation to check the status of your parcel.
You can find contact seller
Respected retailers usually have a summary of who they are in the “About us” section, where you can check the history of the company, its values and mission. Legitimate companies also usually have the “Contacts” section where consumers can submit complaints and problems with service.
The section “About us” or “Contact us” can help to improve the transparency and reliability of the retailer. If you have doubts about the authenticity of the web site, make sure that the seller has available a line of communication with customers.
You examine the proposal
Conducted their own study and comparing sites, you will get an idea about the average cost of the product available on the market. Compare prices gives you the best opportunity to find out whether a transaction is legitimate. If you do not, you risk overpaying for the goods or potentially at the risk of becoming a victim of fraud.
You’re not tracking your accounts
Although you don’t always want to pay with a credit card, it can help you quickly track fraudulent activity and avoid other mistakes when you shop on the Internet. It is advisable to regularly check your account balances and activity on a credit card to enable you to detect any unusual expenditures and unauthorized purchases. If that happens, report it immediately.
You visit fake websites coupons
Beware of clicking on coupons on social networks. If the coupon received from the official page of the social network of the seller, no problem. But in other cases, counterfeit coupons appearing on social media pages that claim to be associated with retailers.
For example, you stumbled on a deal at the store that are not advertised on any of the official media platforms that store. Instead assume that the transaction is an internal secret of the company, please contact your local store or try to keep track of the transaction on the official website. Otherwise you are vulnerable to malware attacks.
Before you buy on final sale
By browsing the section “Sale” on the Internet, pay special attention to items marked as “final sale”. This does not always mean final price. According to statistics, by selling the remains, retailers can reduce the price more than once.
You are subscribed to too many alerts
Although you don’t want to miss a bargain, subscribe to lots of mailing lists can cause your mailbox will be overflowing and you will not notice something important. Certainly, stocks have a short shelf life, but, most likely, soon there will be another. Instead to receive information about all promotions, it is better to subscribe to those relating to the search of a particular product — so you don’t buy too much.
You put too much trust in reviews
Products and services with positive reviews have a big impact on new customers, and retailers know it. The survey 2018 from ReviewTracker showed that 63.6% of people will check the reviews in Google before you visit a particular company. As a result, some online shopping get paid for positive reviews.
To right fake reviews, beware of those that do not have specific details about your product or service. Also note the date of reviews. If about the same time published a large number of positive reviews, this may indicate that they were paid.
You buy more to get free shipping
Shopping online is fun, until you remember that you have to pay for shipping. Retailers often entice you by offering free shipping after you order a certain amount. But it can cause you to spend more, adding products that aren’t too you need. Even one additional element usually pays for the shipping cost which you would pay. Buy where free delivery is offered throughout the year.
You use fake apps
Before downloading the app to search for discounts, make sure they are legitimate. A study by RiskIQ 2017 showed that one of the 25 apps for shopping “Black Friday” is a fraud designed to steal personal information or download malware on a phone or laptop of the user. To avoid this Scam, only load the official app store or a trusted application such as FatWallet and DealNews, says Consumer Reports.
You choose the “designer” merchandise discounts
Even if you buy a product on a reputable site such as Amazon, Walmart or eBay, you can still get a fake product, sold to one of the third-party sellers. A study conducted in 2018, showed that 20 of the 47 products, which the organization purchased from third-party sellers on a popular consumer web sites was counterfeit. Control the symptom of counterfeit goods is the price which seems too good to be real.
You are tracking hidden shipping costs
Have all been in a situation where you’ve accidentally found that the total amount in the cart is much higher than you thought. This may be a result of hidden costs such as separate charges for shipping individual items. Or perhaps a website advertises “free shipping”, but only for customers who pay for annual membership or other fees.
Before filling the basket on any shopping website, make sure you know how much for shipping to enable you to determine whether to actually order online. Sometimes you can avoid fees by choosing the option “pick up in store” or find free promo codes delivery on such websites as RetailMeNot.
How to protect yourself
Shopping online is an easy and convenient task. To make sure you’re safe, follow these tips.
Check the authenticity of the web site or application
The easiest way to detect a questionable web site or application is the wrong spelling of the name or the URL — if something is wrong, do not press and nothing to download.
Secure sites typically begin with “https://” and not with “http://”, please note this distinction before you trust the website. Another way to check the security of the website is to run it through safe web search Norton.
Stick to brands and app developers, of which you’ve heard and trust. In addition, you can check whether the company is accredited or has received complaints by searching on BBB.org.
Don’t be too confident in the reviews
Reviews are easy to fake, so don’t trust everything you read. Some signs of fake reviews include excessive use of personal pronouns, the lack of specific details, a few reviews published at the same time, and poor grammar, according to MarketWatch.
Of course, not all reviews are fake, and reviews could be a useful tool when making purchasing decisions. However, don’t let the reviews be your main and final point of support when it comes to buying.
Go to the online stores
One of the best ways to avoid fraud is to check shops. If you see a price that is much lower or higher than the price on other sites, that is a good indication that the product is a fake.
In addition, you can go to Google Shopping is a simple way to compare prices online. It also shows the shipping cost, so you can compare the full price of the product and not just the advertised price.
Pay for purchases with a credit card
Always select the credit card payment and not personal payment, Bank transfer or PayPal. Credit cards can be easily tracked, and it also protects you from any unauthorized payments or fees for products you never received. Most companies producing a credit card will not be charge for any disputed costs.
Do not share personal information with online sellers
You should never provide your Bank account information, your social security number or your date of birth to the Internet trader. A website that requests this info most likely fraudulent.
Remember: if it looks too good most likely is a fraud
Design products with significant discounts, sites offering 90% discount on running products, coupons for retail sellers at incredible prices, sites and products only good reviews have one thing in common — they’re probably fake. If something seems too good to be true, trust your intuition and leave.