Shopping comes with a love-hate relationship. Whether you want to get your hands on the elegant fitted sheet for your bedroom or the dress that you want to rock on an upcoming event, you just don’t like to go through the hassle of long queues and fussy parking lot or if you’re lazier, maybe you simply don’t like stepping out of your house. That’s when online shopping becomes your best friend, but that too comes with a price tag (literally and figuratively). If not done in a safe and secure way, you can be the victim of online scams, theft, and fraud.
These could be the risks that you can encounter in the future, and you need to look out for them:
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Shopping in Public
If you suddenly become hasty to buy the outfit that you stumbled upon while sipping coffee at your favorite café, you might be opening the doorways for thieves. There are two scenarios to consider:
Let’s say you are not using the public Wi-Fi, but the website doesn’t have your credit card information saved, so you are most likely going to pull out your credit card to enter the 3-digit code, your credit card number, and the expiry date. This way you are welcoming the sneaky fraudsters wholeheartedly without even you being aware of it. They can easily note down that information with them to use your credit card info later.
The second scenario could be that you have your credit card details already saved on the website you’re shopping, but you don’t have your mobile data. This is when you would like to connect to the public network which would in return allow the hackers to steal your personal data.
Fake Online Stores
Some scammers create fake online stores that don’t actually sell any products and services online, but they only take payment from you. They lure you into tempting deals that may sometimes look too good to be true.
You also need to look out for websites that have similar names like Target, Amazon, Sephora, etc, and they usually have .net at the end of them. These are most likely to be a rip off which you need to look out for.
The Unfamiliar Websites
Whatever on Earth you want to purchase, thanks to the internet, you search for it online and thousands of results pop up. Some of the websites, where you have never shopped before, may have amazing discounts or deals that make you irresistible from clicking on “add to cart and pay”. But these unfamiliar websites may trick you into giving up your information which you will regret later.
The Gift Card Scam
Many websites claim to sell gift cards for the brands you may stand. Although at first, it may seem like a marvelous deal, it could be another way for the scammers to rip you off either by stealing your credit card information or getting payment from you in exchange for an already used card.
Adware and Malware
While surfing the website or social networking sites, you may get bombarded with lots of ads with enticing deals. As soon as you click on the ads that pop up on your screen, the new window asks you to register with them and submit your personal details. This is the easiest way for scammers to get your information.
Sometimes even the most reputable stores get hit with malware which transfers to its users’ system as soon as they enter the website. This can lead to thieves stealing your login credentials if you don’t have efficient antivirus software.
How to Stay Safe When Shopping Online?
With the pandemic situation now, online shopping feels even more safe and convenient than ever. However, online shopping comes with a risk of scams and theft, but you can take some steps in order to minimize them and shop online happily.
- Whenever you’re shopping from a website, make sure that the website has “HTTPS://” instead of “HTTP://”. The “s” in it stands for secure and it even has a padlock on the left side of it along with a certificate that tells that all your personal information and details are encrypted. Therefore, your passwords and credit card info will remain safe.
- Install efficient anti-virus software on your system. In case malware enters your computer through the website it will immediately detect it and prevent it from stealing your credentials.
- Always shop from a reputable online store. If somehow you stumble across an unknown page that you badly want to shop from, you should see its reviews and its return policy. You should also look out for how they ensure quality standards of customer satisfaction and security.
- If you shop through apps, you need to update them once the update notification pops up on your device. As your credit card information is already saved in the apps, the update keeps fixing bugs or any vulnerabilities that could lead to scammers stealing your info. This can keep the scammers at bay.