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How to Avoid Online Shopping Scams

Online shopping is a convenient and affordable way to buy anything from groceries to gifts. However, with the increasing popularity of online shopping, there has also been a rise in online shopping scams.

Tips on how to avoid online shopping scams

A survey report published by NortonLifeLock, a global leader in cyber safety, states 62% of Indians faced online shopping scams during the festive season in 2022. Scammers use fake websites, coupons, ads, and emails to trick consumers into giving up their personal and financial information or paying for products that never arrive.

So, How to Avoid Online Shopping Scams?

Online shopping can be enjoyable and satisfying if you follow certain rules and be careful and sensible. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Here are few tips to follow:

Verify the Website’s Identity and Security

Before you buy anything from an online store, you need to make sure it is a trustworthy and safe website. You can look for clues such as:

  • The domain name matches the name of the company or brand. You should be careful of websites that use similar but slightly different names.

  • The address bar has a padlock icon and “https://”, which show that the website uses encryption to protect your data.

Padlock symbol denotes that the data exchanged between the browser and website is encrypted with SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) technology and cannot be read by third parties.
Padlock Symbol Denotes Encrypted SSL Technology
Pro Tip: The padlock security icon is not enough to guarantee that a website is safe from phishing. You should also check for the Punycode (Character substitution like "csec.co.in" instead of "cesc.co.in"), spelling errors, subdomains, and other differences in a site's real URL and webpage. It is always a good practice to search for the company’s name on Google, then go to their real website to do your online shopping.
  • The website has a clear and accurate description of the company, its products, its policies, and its contact details. You should avoid websites that have spelling or grammatical mistakes, vague or misleading information, or no customer service options.

Beware of Links that Offer Freebies or Huge Discounts

Online coupons and freebies may seem attractive, but scammers use them to trick consumers into sharing their personal information or clicking on harmful links. To protect yourself from coupon scams, you should:

  • Check the origin of the coupon or freebie. If it is from a well-known brand or retailer, look at their official website or social media pages to see if they have the same offer. If not, it may be a scam.

  • Do not click on links or attachments in emails or messages that you did not expect or request that claim to offer coupons or freebies. They may take you to fake websites or infect your device with malware.

  • Read the terms and conditions carefully before using a coupon or freebie.

Look at the Shipping Charges

Products that are much cheaper than other online stores may charge you a lot more for shipping and handling. Look for hidden charges, subscriptions, or requirements that could cost you money or compromise your privacy. Be careful about what you agree to:

  • Check the online store’s shipping and delivery time

  • Check the online store’s return policies

  • Don't click “ok” on every pop-up without thinking, during the checkout process.

Use Digital Wallet or Trusted Payment Gateway to Make Payments

Pay for your online purchases with secure and convenient payment methods. Some best options are:

  • A digital wallet that lets you store and use multiple payment methods without sharing your card details. Some examples are Google Pay, PhonePe, Paytm, etc.

  • Use Net banking on trusted third-party payment gateways. Some examples are BillDesk, Razorpay, CCAvenue, CashFree, PayU, etc.

  • Cash on delivery that allows you to pay for your order when it reaches your doorstep. However, this option may not be available for all online stores or products.

Avoid Online Shopping on Public Wi-Fi Networks

Public Wi-Fi networks are often not secure and can be hacked by cybercriminals who can monitor your online activity and steal your information. To prevent this from happening, you should:

  • Shop online only on a private and password-protected network, such as your home Wi-Fi or mobile data.

  • Use a VPN (virtual private network) service that scrambles your data and hides your IP address from hackers.

  • Never enter sensitive information, such as your credit card number or password, on websites that are not secure or reliable.

Report Any Suspicious Activity Immediately

If you have been cheated, you should first contact the e-commerce company through their website. Go to their contact page and email them or chat with their customer support section.

Pro tip: Never look for the customer care number on Google to call the e-commerce website. Scammers often share fake phone numbers on the internet to mislead the innocent victims.

Besides this, you can also file a complaint using the Government's grievance portal INGRAM (Integrated Grievance Redressal Mechanism), or contact the National Cyber Crime Reporting Portal (Helpline Number -1930). Additionally, you can report the cyber-crime to your local police station. Make sure you report any unauthorized charges on your credit card statement to your bank or card issuer too.

How does Entimessi Protect You from Online Shopping Scams?

Protecting your online shopping experience from scams is Entimessi's promise to you.

  • Entimessi ensures the authenticity of both its products and its vendors by applying strict verification processes. This applies to vendor partnerships, where a careful screening process weeds out potential fraudsters, ensuring customers access to only quality products.

  • Entimessi values the security of transactions and has partnered with trusted payment gateways: Razorpay, PauU, CashFree and PayPal, that follow the highest standards of cybersecurity.

  • Entimessi works towards educating its customers about online shopping scams through awareness campaigns that explain the details of online shopping scams. Through our informative blog articles, interactive webinars, and engaging social media content, we make sure that our customers are well-prepared to spot and avoid potential online shopping scams.

Happy Shopping. Secure Shopping.


 

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2 Comments

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Guest
Sep 01, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Timely and aptly briefed article.

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Guest
Sep 01, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Thank you for sharing these valuable tips on avoiding online shopping scams.

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