The perfect storm for scamming customers could be created by pandemic constraints, online deals and the Christmas countdown. As Black Friday and Cyber Monday close, a range of cybersecurity and financial experts have issued stern alerts to online shoppers about the possible hazards while shopping online. The new Covid-19 regulations in Ireland mean that most retail stores are confined to online sales, which would boost online shopping as well.
So how safe is online shopping? In fact, according to recent research from the Banking and Payments Federation Ireland, almost 60 percent of individuals have said they will do more of their Christmas shopping online this year (BPFI). BPFI has outlined a series of dangerous habits to look out for while shopping online as part of its FraudSmart initiative.
Is online shopping safe? As the Covid constraints and the pre-Christmas rush lure thousands of online shoppers, we advise all customers to take special care this year while shopping online.
So, when it comes to, how safe is online shopping? What safe shopping online tips customers need to know?
Using Websites that are Safe
Research by BPFI showed that more than a third (35pc) of respondents rarely or never review the protection of the website they are shopping on, and 43pc rarely. When shopping online, make sure that before the order is made, the website address begins with ‘HTTPs’, implying a safe link. Sites where a padlock sign is displayed beside the URL of the website can also be used. An important safe shopping online tips.
Visit Independent Websites
In BPFIs study, approximately 40pc of respondents said they occasionally or often click links from social media ads rather than visit the related safe online shopping sites individually. If you see an enticing social media ad, stop immediately clicking on the ad and look up the page yourself instead. Consumers can also stick to pages you are acquainted with or high-street supermarket outlet-related websites. If you’re shopping at a store you haven’t seen before, first do your homework. Check for such online shopping safety symbols, such as a business address, and search for any indicators of validity.
Stop Public Wi-Fi for Transactions
A separate Ulster Bank fraud study showed that almost one in five (18pc) bought products online by using public Wi-Fi. When making purchases or obtaining confidential information, users can never use public Wi-Fi. Public Wi-Fi, with low security and unencrypted networks, is often vulnerable to ransomware or ‘man in the centre’ assaults. When making payments or inputting bank information or passwords, always use a private, protected network. Switch to 3G or 4G on your computer if you’re unable to connect to trusted Wi-Fi. One of the most important safe shopping online tips.
Beware of Suspicious Emails
Consumers should be alert about fraud emerging in their newsletters, particularly though you’re not shopping. Research from Proofpoint shows that 89pc of the biggest retailers in the UK are leaving shoppers vulnerable to email scams ahead of Black Friday and Cyber Monday by not introducing security that would deter cyber-criminals from spoofing their identification. This suggests that cyber criminals will act as well-known brands and send customers emails that look like they come from a reputable account, trick people into hanging on links or exchanging personal information that scammers use. Surf through safe online shopping sites.
Using a Payment System that is Safe.
Try paying with your credit card or PayPal instead of a debit card or online check, after your cart is full for safe shopping online. If unauthorized charges occur from a transaction, these approaches can reduce the liability. Many credit card providers have card-built fraudulent behavior or fraud identification technology which can notify you if your account displays an irregular fee. After you enter your data, several places will ask you if you would like to store your credit card information. Although enticing, the details could be exploited by hackers if the safe shopping online website had a data breach.
Regularly Check your Bank and Credit Card Receipts.
To double check if you have been correctly paid, periodically scan your bank and credit card statements. Keep an eye out for payments from suppliers you don’t know and promptly report them to the card provider. If you spot theft, don’t panic. Immediately after an unauthorized purchase, most credit cards will immediately request a refund and a new account number.
Stay Virus-free on Your Computer/Mobile Device
Keeping the operating system, applications, and anti-virus (both on PCs and smartphones) up to date, which could involve patches for the new protection bugs, is important. Download banking apps or e-commerce apps only from official websites, such as Google Play and the App Store, on your smartphones. This decreases the chance of malware-infection by the program. One out of many important tips for safe online shopping.
If it’s Too Nice to be True, it May not be Genuine.
There’s no such thing as lunch for free. This is what you know, and even supermarket vendors do. If you come across an arrangement that seems positively amazing elsewhere, then be careful. Luring you to a certain page and risking your protection might be a pit, not in secure online shopping. At this time of year, offers and discounts are popular, but it’s still better to be vigilant and wary of deals that seem unrealistically valid. Before you plan to take the plunge, use some cold hard reasoning and visit those pages and places. Before making transactions there, even search the URL and the HTTPS certifications on websites.
Read Policies for Returns
You investigated the seller and found a decent price for your object of choice. Time to shop, huh? Ensure to review the return policies on secure online shopping. There’s still a risk that things don’t turn out when you’re buying the object sight unseen. Shipping is pending. Be sure you know how, if at all, the vendor manages returns.Perhaps worse than a lump of coal in your stocking is a stolen identity. So stay safe when shopping online. This holiday season, make sure you just have fun surprises by sticking to these online shopping safety tips to keep you and your details safe. Take care to make sure that when shopping online, your personal information is secure. Doing so will help make sure that cybercrooks can keep your holiday season merry, bright, and safe.