eScan, one of the leading Anti-Virus and Content Security Solution providers, warns consumers of online shopping scams. In this digital era, trend of shopping online is increasing day-by-day. This emerging trend has proved beneficial for marketers to promote their merchandise in wide geographical area using internet, whereas the increasing inclination amongst customers is due to the convenience factor. This in-turn has proved as an excellent opportunity for cyber criminals to make money.
Today, online shopping fraud is a worldwide issue. According to the recent CBS Columbia Broadcasting System report, nearly 450,000 Dutch consumers indicated that they were victims of a scam while shopping online in 2013, an increase of 0.4 per cent from 2012. Additionally, in 2013, approximately 3.3 per cent of the Dutch population over the age of 15 reported that they were victims of a scam while purchasing or selling something through the internet. Similarly, the recent Australian Competition and Consumer Commission report says that there has been a 65 per cent increase in online shopping scams over the past 12 months in Australia.
However, 55 per cent of U.S. Internet users who are yet to make an online purchase say that the potential for fraudulent use of their credit card information makes them less likely to shop online.
Consumers do not pay much attention while they are over the internet and most of the times give their confidential information to the hackers, unknowingly. As consumers are becoming more comfortable shopping online, the techniques used by scammers to defraud consumers are also improving.
Hackers are trying their best to trick online shoppers by offering them too good to be true deals, fake emails with malicious link embedded, bogus discounted prices for popular products, and so on, with an aim of stealing credit card numbers and personal information of the consumers, to make money out of it.
Therefore, consumers should be extra careful while checking their bank balance, paying a bill, giving money, shopping, or selling something online.
eScan suggests few tips to stay secure while shopping online:
- Protect your computer from internet threats by installing reliable Anti-Virus software.
- Ensure that your IT security software is up-to-date before you indulge in online shopping.
- Look for signs of encryption, starting from web address with https, wherein ‘s’ stands for secure.
- Verify secure connections. When shopping on-line, be cautious if you see a broken key or an open padlock symbol in your Internet browser.
- Do a thorough research about the website before purchasing anything. Look for consumer review for that particular website.
- Do not respond to unsolicited (spam) e-mails. Never click on the links embedded within an unsolicited e-mail. Only open attachments from known senders.
- Never pay bills, bank, shop, or do other financial business on a public or shared computer.
- Create strong passwords. Use a separate email account for your online shopping.
- You may receive mail, messages and posts that may contain link to fake shopping websites that mention a similar online retailer’s name. Do not fall in this trap. Always visit the official website by typing its URL or address in the Web browser address bar. Always check the domain registration info and always check the contact details on the site. Place an order only if the website is genuine.
- Last but not the least, to secure yourself from online scams, use your common sense.