Since we are living in a digital era, shopping is now defined by online purchases. In previous years, shopping was a physical purchase of a product made by a customer by visiting the store personally. This concept is now minimized since ecommerce companies have introduced online shopping.
Online shopping has multiple advantages and is loved by people all over the world, as Global E-commerce Sales portray and predict a rise in online shopping every year.
Online shopping offers a wide range of options for purchasing products as well as making payments
Shopping can be done with a click sitting at home or office
It is quick and hassle-free and does not require your presence
Price comparisons are easy
Product is delivered at your given address in a couple of days as stated
Touch or feel of purchase product is missing
Interactivity with store people is missing
Cyber-Frauds happen while shopping online
The last point is one of the main drawbacks of online shopping. Though online shopping is on the rise every year, as shown in the above graph, research indicates that the monetary damage caused by cyber frauds while shopping online has also demonstrated significant growth.
Hackers try all different ways to get your credit card information, for misusing it for their evil intentions. Various frauds prevail while an online shopping transaction is taking place. Few of them are credit card fraud, refund fraud, identity theft, phishing, bogus purchases, spyware and malware, misuse of bank information, and many more.
There are many ways wherein you can beat these criminals; you’re your cautious approach, which will not only protect your personal and monetary information but also give you a safe and secure shopping experience.
Let’s have a look at some of the smart ways to beat these cyber-criminals.
Tips for Safe Online Shopping:
Research the authenticity of the website:
An essential safety tip while shopping online is to verify whether the website you are approaching is genuine or not. It’s not that difficult to distinguish a fake website from a real one.
Identification of Fake Website:
Strange URL’s: Example “Givenchy-at-nominalrate.com” etc.
Strange availability of products: A clothing website also sells perfumes and home furniture
Broken English Language: Lots of mistakes in the product descriptions
Bizarre Contact Information: Unusual information in the address details or email id
Unusual prices: Unimaginable low prices of a product depict a fake site
Awful design: Online shops ensure that their site looks attractive and beautiful. If that’s missing, it is a warning bell about the authenticity of the site.
Check out these tips before trusting the site with your personal information to prevent yourself from monetary damages.
SSL Secure Shopping:
SSL (Secure Socket Layers) certificates establish a secured link between the web server and browser in the form of encryption. It ensures that all the communication made between server and browser is secured with 256-bit encryption and 2048-bit CSR signatures.
Websites are having SSL security display trust symbols like a padlock in the address bar and Https in URL. These symbols are proof of a secured site. Even Google favours SSL secured sites and hence ranks them ahead in SEO.
There are many types of SSL certificates available in the market. Standard SSL certificates secure your domain/subdomain; Wildcard SSL certificates secure multiple sub-domains + main domain, while Multi-Domain wildcard SSL secures multiple domains + multiple sub-domains with a single certificate.
A data in encrypted format is like an encoded language, which is difficult for hackers to penetrate. Hence hackers prefer sites starting with “Http,” which are unsecured and can be easily hacked.
If you have small website and want to secure it, buy comodo essential ssl certificate that comes in low cost with high security.
It would help if you verified whether your online shopping site has these trust symbols or not. If yes, go ahead on your shopping spree.
Stick to Credit Card:
Since debit cards are directly linked to your bank account, it’s best to avoid their usage during online shopping. Use of credit cards or other payment methods like Paytm, PayPal, etc. are recommended for financial safety.
Limit sharing your Personal Details:
A few details needed by a company, when a customer is into online shopping, are Name, Contact Number, Credit card number, and Shipping Address. Apart from these details, other details are non-mandatory.
If a website asks for your private information like Social Security Number, birth date, etc. beware of such sites and abandon them instantly. These crooks can easily steal your identity from such compromised sites.
The lesser the information they have about you, the better you are in the safe zone. Companies who respect your privacy are genuine, so learn to distinguish them from the fake ones.
Another secure way to do online shopping is to opt for “Payment on Delivery” option and pay cash to the delivery agent, rather than paying by credit card.
Update your browser, operating system and antivirus software:
Old anti-virus software is prone to malware infections. Old browsers have loopholes in their security, thus making way for hackers.
Even the operating system and browser should be updated regularly to strengthen security and prevent data leakage.
Though these updates are time-consuming and complicated, Automatic software update tool helps in making the update process fast and easy.
Deceive Email Fraudsters:
Many deceiving links come in the form or emails offering attractive discounts and offers. To prevent your information from getting misused:
Never get tempted with such offers and never click links in haste, before proper verification is made. It’s better to play cautious and prevent yourself from such temptations.
Do not open emails from untrusted sources. One wrong link clicked, and the bad guys get all your data stored in your pc/laptop for misuse.
Use the “flag as spam” button for such suspicious links.
Never enter any bank account number or credit card number on such links for precautions. It’s advisable to create a new email id for online shopping, to keep your personal data safe, in case the site is compromised.
Check bank statements regularly:
With the current technology rise, hackers are forced to adapt smart ways to get through the information. It would be best if you were smarter than them to outsmart their moves.
One such move is to keep a regular check on your bank details. Never wait for a month to check your bank statement or two months for your credit card bill. Go for an internet banking facility, wherein you can check your bank statements frequently in a week.
Even during vacations or public holidays, when a crime is high, be alerted to check your credit card statements and bank accounts. If you have opted for other payment methods like PayPal or Paytm, look out for fraudulent transactions, if any.
Wired money for any transaction is suspicious, so avoid the same, and if you find anything unusual about the card or bank charges, notify the bank or the card company about the same immediately and stop all payments and transfers till the matter is resolved.
A few more precautions:
Never use Public Wi-Fi
Use strong, unique and different passwords for different accounts, change them frequently, and store them with password manager
Use reliable Anti-Virus protection
Bulletproof your system with security layers
Check the refunds and returns policy
There is no need to fear while shopping online. Millions of people do online shopping regularly and effectively, but it’s always safe to “Look before you leap”; while doing e-commerce shopping. Both parties involved in the shopping process, e-retailers, and shoppers need to safeguard their doubts.
E-retailers need to focus on preserving customer trust and their reputation by implementing cyber security tips, while shoppers need to concentrate on a secured shopping experience while keeping their finances safe. If both focus on their priorities and stay cautious, they can together beat these cyber-criminals and nullify their attacks. Best Wishes!!