The Covid-19 pandemic changed the way we shop for things. The pandemic, which forced us to remain at our homes and maintain social distancing practices, encouraged us to shop online. Therefore, it is crucial to note that eCommerce websites have reported a higher surge in activity ever since the pandemic.
For instance, Amazon reported a jump in revenue of 26 percent in just the first three months of last year. As a result, more and more people will be shopping online due to convenience and comfort. This is why customers need to understand how to protect themselves from an online shopping scam.
How To Prevent Online Shopping Scam
Customers prefer online shopping for a wide range of reasons. For instance, you get to choose a product from a fine selection of options. In addition to that, online shopping is secure and fast and helps customers get attractive deals and discounts.
It is also the safest option available to us during the pandemic, and it will continue to remain safe. That said, the IC3 ( Internet Crime Complaint Center) of the FBI said that online shopping-related crimes were the most commonly reported cybercrime in 2019 (in half of 50 states in the United States.)
The stat mentioned above may shock several online shoppers, but there is no need to panic or stop buying products online. All you need to do is follow some of the following tips and stay attentive when shopping online.
Shop From Familiar Websites
Search results may often take you to unfamiliar and unreliable websites, especially when you skip the first few search results pages. Therefore, one of the basic rules that online shoppers must follow is to buy products only from familiar and reputed websites.
You will be able to find whatever you want on the most popular eCommerce websites, including Amazon. However, you should also note that some websites may use URLs similar to popular websites to trick you into doing business with them.
Always Use Strong Passwords
Do you know that 90 percent of internet users worldwide are worried that their password will get hacked? Another interesting stat to note is that approximately 57 percent of internet users who have already been scammed through phishing attacks continue to use the same password.
This means that these users do not understand the importance of having a strong password. Therefore, one of the simplest and effective ways to protect yourself from online shopping scams is to use strong passwords that are harder to crack.
If you feel that your password is not secure or can be easily cracked, consider using a password manager. The password manager will help you create untrackable passwords, which will keep you away from cyberattacks.
Regularly Check Statements
Most people often tend to wait until the end of the month to check their bank and credit card statements. However, it is best to check statements regularly, as it will help you to identify fraudulent charges if any. It is crucial to remember that fraudulent charges may even originate from payment websites like Venmo and PayPal.
Online shoppers should consider using credit cards instead of debit cards when making payments online. This is because the hackers will gain direct access to your bank if your debit card has been compromised. In addition, sellers who prompt you to choose a different payment option are more likely to be scammers.
Another important rule to follow when you are online shopping is never making online payments to websites that do not have SSL certificates. You will be easily able to identify websites with SSL certificates from those who aren’t using them. This is because websites that have SSL certificates will have HTTPS instead of HTTP in their URL.
Ecommerce websites that have not installed SSL certificates will appear to be less trustworthy to online shoppers. This is why ecommerce businesses must buy SSL certificates from reliable SSL providers and install the certificates on their websites. This ensures encryption of customers’ PII (Personally Identifiable Information) transmitted between the web server and the client browser, thereby eliminating the instances of sniffing, MiTM attacks, etc.
Always Update Your Software
It doesn’t matter whether you are shopping from a laptop, desktop, tablet, or smartphone; you should always update the operating system to the latest available version.
This will help you to prevent the chance of cybercriminals exploring the weakness of your device. Moreover, using a good anti-malware software system, including a firewall and antivirus, will also keep you away from cyberattacks.
Maintain PCI Compliance
All eCommerce websites that accept credit card payments will need to adhere to the protection regulation of the PCI ( Payment Card Industry). The PCI Security Standards Council is the one who is creating and managing the PCI standards.
The standards are introduced to ensure credit card payments are safe and secure. In simple words, online transactions made with credit cards will be a lot safer when eCommerce retailers follow these standards.
Regularly Examine Online Store Or Website For Suspicious Activities
Ecommerce store and website owners will have to regularly monitor the online sale process for issues and red flags. For instance, some eCommerce store owners might find inconsistent shipping and billing information in some cases.
Ecommerce retailers should also consider using helpful tools that can be used to track the IP addresses of buyers. This will help businesses to stay alert if the purchase is from areas reported with fraudsters.
Do Not Give Out Too Much Information
Credit card details, address, and phone number are the only information required for online purchase. If the website asks you for any additional information, such as your social security number, you should consider shopping from another eCommerce website or store.
There has been a significant increase in the number of cyber-attacks and the growing popularity of online shopping. Ecommerce business owners should realize that cyberattacks can destroy their reputation and drive customers away.
On the other hand, online shoppers must be careful, avoid doing business with unfamiliar websites, and strictly follow the steps mentioned above to stay away from online shopping scams.