How to Best Protect Against Online Shopping Scams

Online scams are not a new trend, despite the increasingly creative ways in which scammers are attempting to take advantage of their victims. It is for this reason that cybersecurity firms are gaining importance through the pandemic – they are dedicated to protecting you, developing and providing the latest in security technology as well as ensuring you are well informed of the many ways online scammers operate.

How Are Scams Executed Over the Internet?

Cybercrime and scamming is initiated by people all over the globe, from Russia and the Ukraine to Nigeria. Scams are often performed by organised groups and their profit margins can be high. In 2019, more than $35 million was lost by Australian scam victims. Unfortunately the chance of these scammers getting caught is often slim.

Scammers use various methods to reach their victims. It can be a text message, an email, a call, an advertisement or just a pop-up. Once they have successfully contacted you, they might try and scare you by claiming that your device is hacked, or that your bank account isn’t safe. They might promise money, prizes, or other products, ultimately with the aim of securing money from you.

The Risk in Online Shopping 

Online shopping is a convenient tool for scammers. Whether you’re buying or selling, you can be targeted:

  • If you are a buyer: One of the most common online shopping scam methods is to target the buyer. The most common technique is selling a product that doesn’t even exist⎯ advertising the product at a very low price to catch your attention and then once payment is received, never delivering.
  • If you are a seller: Many people are unaware of how scammers trick sellers. Acting as a buyer they claim to have transferred an excess amount and ask for a refund, forging emails from banks and financial institutions. In the end, the seller loses his product as well as money as usually the scammer has not transferred any money at all.

What Can You Do?

It is advised to stay updated with the latest and most practical scamming preventions and solutions. You can use the following suggestions in order to stay safe from online scams:

  • Make use of a VPN when online, especially whilst sharing sensitive information. If you’re asking, “how does a VPN work?”, look no further, click here for a detailed explanation.
  • Be aware of who the seller is. Whenever you come across a completely new website, do a quick Google search to learn more.
  • Use an antivirus security system, to secure your VPN connections and protect you against scams.
  • Use a trusted payment gateway while making payments or try to opt for cash-on-delivery settlements. 
  • If something is too good to be true, it probably is!
  • Never click on related payments or unknown links via emails. Instead, check your balance and transactions through official methods.
  • Take your time when shopping online.

Protect Yourself:

Online shopping might seem quick and easy, but safety is never guaranteed. Australians are among the most active online shoppers, making them an attractive target for scammers. Always take time to research who you are buying from and don’t be fooled by too-good-to-be-true offers.