The internet has revolutionized everything in last 3 decades, including online shopping. While shopping online brings in many advantages including – convenience of buying anytime/anywhere, better variety and deals to choose from, option of price comparison, shop in peace without any compulsions, sending gifts on a click of mouse and many more.
The current scenario has also created an opportunity for cybercriminals, who are on the prowl to target people shopping online.
Following the mentioned guidelines will help protect you from fraudsters: –
- Go directly to a store’s website instead of using search engines to look for deals – If you happen to find a deal using a search engine, try to verify it by searching for the exact name of the deal in quotes. If it’s a scam, most likely someone will have put out a warning already.
- Do not use debit cards to shop online – Using credit cards or net banking is better option. While many banks are cracking down on fraudulent withdrawals, you’ll still have to wait for your money while they investigate the charges.
- Avoid using public Wi-Fi to shop – It is much easier for cybercriminals to break into public Wi-Fi, get passwords and wreak havoc. If you’re shopping and entering personal data, best to do it on your secure Wi-Fi connection at home.
- Don’t click pop-ups and digital ads – Many pop-ups could contain fake coupons, redirect you to malicious sites. If a coupon seems to come out of nowhere with a too-good-to-be-true offer, click that “x” and shut it down.
- Watch out for social media scams, especially on Facebook – Cybercriminals are using fake or compromised Facebook accounts in order to post links to deals that don’t actually exist, but catch one’s eyes easily. If you’re being asked to share something on Facebook in order to get your hands on something too good to be true, there’s a scam involved.
- Delete emails with suspecious attachments – Emails with attachments, are likely to contain malware, delete them immediately. If you get an email from a store claiming to have a deal, type the store’s URL directly into your browser instead of clicking on the link to verify and act appropriately.
- Make sure you’re on a http(s) secure connection /b- <>Look for the padlock icon to the left of the URL. If it’s there, then that means the information passed between a store’s server and your browser remains private and the same is not leaked to unsafe hands.
- Watch out for malicious QR codes – QR codes are small, pixelated codes meant to be scanned by a smartphone’s camera. They often contain coupons, links to websites, or other product marketing materials. Some hackers have started creating codes that link to a phishing or malware site, printing them on stickers, and placing them on top of the legit QR codes. Best to avoid them.
- 9. Don’t fork over extra info – If a site starts asking for out-of-the-ordinary personal data, like PAN/AADHAR numbers or password security questions, stop the activity and shutdown the website.
By:- Sapan Talwar