If online shopping is your favorite way of shopping, you might have some security concerns, and this is only natural given how many scams and frauds have emerged lately. With many people shopping more frequently online over the past year, the pandemic has created a favorable context for con artists who try to scam people online. If this sounds worrisome and you want to know how to stay safe while shopping online, here are some tips from the BBB.
The Better Business Bureau has issued a number of warnings as the number of people shopping online continues to grow at the same pace as scams and cyberattacks. The presumption you should have in mind when you shop online, especially if you buy products from a new website you haven’t worked with before is that it’s always easier to get scammed when you’re buying things remotely. When you’re not actually holding, touching, and visually inspecting the product you’re buying, there is always a chance you pay for something and find a totally different thing delivered to your doorstep. But this is just the smallest risk you incur while shopping online. Worse things can and do happen. People register their bank and personal data on shady websites, and they become victims of financial fraud or identity theft. Others unknowingly download malicious apps while buying new products online and install programs that steal their sensitive data or hack their accounts, and the list of threats can continue.
One of the main aspects the BBB urges people to pay attention to is ads. With so much information bombarding us from so many websites and social channels, it’s hard to make the difference between what’s real and not, and when it comes to adds, while most of them simply promote products, others have malicious purposes. Once you click on their link or download button, you won’t get any closer to your desired product. You’ll actually let cybercriminals get closer to you by installing on your device a piece of software that can copy your credentials, accesses your sensitive data, or even sneak into your bank account. Usually, there is one golden rule you should follow to avoid these malicious attempts – don’t click on ads that promote deals or services that simply sound to be true for their price point.
If you are really interested in an offer, before you rush to access it from an ad you find on social media, you can take 5 more minutes to check out that offer elsewhere on the web. If that is a legit company promoting its product or service, it surely has a website or reviews you can check to ascertain its validity. Prior research can take you a long way in helping you protect your finances and personal data while shopping online. When you do your research, some of the main aspects to look for are the contact details of the company. If it’s a legit company, it has a contact page. Besides an email address or a phone number, also check to see if the company clearly states its address.
If the website you’re browsing on has no contact details whatsoever, buying anything from that company is not a good idea. How will you be able to reach out to them if your product doesn’t get delivered or you get something else?
Moreover, for security reasons, serious websites will feature an address that starts with https://. These are safe websites to shop from.
Another important aspect people frequently overlook when shopping online are terms and conditions. They might be long and boring, but they include essential information the company can use against you if you complain or threaten to sue them. To make it easier to skim through those lengthy T&C pages, simply look for the sections that are more relevant such as the return, refund, and cancellation policies. If a website doesn’t even have a terms and conditions section, it might be better to look for an alternative.
Finally, another golden tip from BBB is to use a credit and not a debit card when you purchase products online so that you can prevent fraudulent transactions.
And, once again, remember to take with a pinch of salt offers that look too good to be true and avoid websites that offer limited information.
Post by Global Asset Management Korea.