10 Tips to avoid being scammed shopping online this holiday season
With the Internet, it has become easy to consult a merchant site. Navigation is fluid, you can browse the many departments, add one or two products of your choice to your shopping cart, and confirm your purchases with one click. Now you can Buy Gift Cards & Vouchers Online.
But such simplicity does not go without aggravating certain problems such as security which is one of the main concerns of eCommerce. For example: In Australia, since the start of the year, more than a thousand shoppers have already reported online scams, with huge financial losses in 56.6% of cases, according to a report by Scam Watch.
The Internet has become our daily tool for sharing, gossiping, and consuming content. Impossible is such a context to consider no longer buying and selling online, despite the risks that we run of being swindled by smart kids in search of easy money, quickly earned. However, there are several things you can do to avoid being robbed.
In this article, we give you ten practical tips for buying smart online – tips that we’ve broken down into two sections:
- Prevention tips: how not to get scammed on e-commerce sites
- The advice after the fact: what to do afterward, if you are the victim of a scam.
Let’s take a closer look at each of these headings. How to avoid scams on e-commerce sites? Start by answering these four questions:
Is the Site Secure?
On your next visit to an e-commerce site, be sure to check the address bar located in the upper left corner of the web page. Look at the URL of the page: is it an HTTP or HTTPS site?
The prefix HTTPS means that any information you enter on the site (username and password, financial, or credit card data) will be encrypted and protected against interception or eavesdropping by malicious third parties.
Unfortunately, many phishing sites appear safe just because they use HTTPS. Your data will indeed be encrypted, but what’s the point of entering information on a phishing or scam site that obviously uses HTTPS? Ultimately, your data will still fall into the wrong hands.
Besides the HTTPS prefix, you should also make sure that the company name is in the URL. This allows you to verify that the site is actually operated by said company and that it is not a bogus site or a scam. The use of technologies allowing verified identity information to be displayed in the address bar is not systematic on sites; the method is therefore not 100% sure.
Tip: Trust your instincts and if something seems “weird” to you, go your way.
Is the site reliable?
No one wants to deal with dodgy websites – hackers and cybercriminals’ landmarks, bogus product outlets, and scams of all kinds. You want to be able to transact on reliable sites. Yes, but there you go, how do you know if a site is trustworthy?
It must be examined. Before buying anything from a merchant site, first, check their background. Concretely, do a search on Google. See if other buyers have used it and review their comments critically. There are several verified review sites.
Savvy consumers will pay attention to the answers to the following questions:
- Do people like you buy from the site?
- So far, what has been their experience?
- Is the experience good or bad?
Focus on these key questions too. They will help you not to be fooled when shopping online.
Is the offer too good to be true?
Fake e-commerce sites promote offers that are just too good to be true. They don’t just offer discounts. It’s not the season for promotions They put up offers that are so crazy they are just too good to be true.
Say you are looking to buy a laptop in the price range between $700 and $1,000 and you come across an online store that is loudly claiming to offer such a product for just $ 150. Take your legs to your neck, because there is a wolf. The operators of the site are only looking to capitalize on the price to rob you of your hard-earned money.
Are the contact details displayed on the site real?
It may be helpful to verify the contact details of the site where you are shopping. Usually, virtually all businesses provide their contact information (email address, mailing address, and phone number) on the “Contact” page of their site. Use this information to verify the authenticity of the merchant.
Again, to flush out scam sites, be on the lookout for other signs – rough grammatical syntax, spelling mistakes, etc.
What if you have been scammed?
As mentioned, it is sometimes difficult to completely avoid fraudulent sites. Even by arming yourself with the greatest vigilance, you will never be completely safe from unpleasant surprises.
- Have you ordered an item, but haven’t received anything?
- Have you been charged too much for an order?
- Are there any additional charges on your bill that you haven’t approved?
In this section, we give you some practical tips on what to do if you fall into the net of a cyber scammer.
Immediately call your bank or the company that issued your credit card
If you’ve been charged in error, call your bank or the company that issued your credit card immediately. Let them know what happened so they can do what is necessary to protect your money.
Your bank can freeze your account, payment card, and checks. The company that issued your credit card may block it. Many financial companies also offer fraud protection and cover a portion of charges debited without your consent. To benefit from it, however, you must promptly report errors.
Make a complaint (if you made your purchases on a platform or marketplace)
Make a claim if you made your purchase on an online platform like eBay or Amazon. Most of these marketplaces are respectable and will help you in your investigation to find the culprits. They will also support you in recovering the stolen sums or receiving the products concerned.
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Get your money back
Some cyber shoppers lose hope altogether, thinking that they will never get their money back after being scammed. Despite the difficulties for victims to review their money, the amounts stolen can, in some cases, be recovered.
For example, if you ordered a product from an online store by paying with your PayPal account and your order has not been delivered, the PayPal buyer protection system may cover you… within certain limits.
Please note: If the PayPal payment form used to retrieve your bank details has been cloned very convincingly, you will not be able to benefit from PayPal buyer protection. Keep this in mind whenever you shop online.
In addition, the use of a credit card rather than a payment card has certain advantages. As mentioned above, banks and credit card companies have implemented fraud protection measures. However, if the fraud has taken place on your bank account, the money will likely be debited from your account when the order is processed and you may have to wait before being refunded. The credit card can act as a “buffer” by adding an extra step between the fraudulent charge and when you actually need to check out. Be aware that many cards offer protection in this kind of situation.
File a complaint or report to the authorities
First of all, if you have been the victim of a scam on a commercial site, remember to file a complaint or make a report to the police authorities. Why? For several reasons :
- This will increase your chances of getting your money back. It is in your best interest to involve security personnel in the search for your thief – assuming the money has been stolen from your bank account. You have been the victim of Internet theft. Reporting the matter to the authorities will intensify the search for the culprits, and thus increase your chances of getting your money back.
- Your bank or your credit card company will likely need a copy of the complaint. In some cases, this document is even required by your bank or the organization that manages your credit card. Take the lead by immediately calling the local police or gendarmerie station – without dialing the emergency number! – and report your case to the cybercrime service.
While it is alluring to order online from the comfort of your couch, the experience can turn into a nightmare when a fake salesperson takes your money.
To avoid falling into the trap, don’t forget to perform the basic checks mentioned above: finding HTTPS and other seller credentials, checking comments from other buyers. As has been said several times in this article, none of these actions are foolproof. Therefore, if you are the victim of online fraud, act quickly by immediately calling your bank or the company that issued your credit card, and file a complaint with the authorities.
These tips should take the stress out of shopping on the Internet. Remember, however, that there is no foolproof protection against scammers. Fortunately, the more careful you are, the more likely you will be to spot these scams the better to avoid them.10 Tips to avoid being scammed shopping online this holiday season by CouponRani