November 14, 2021

Top eCommerce Scams You Should Be Aware of Before Holiday Shopping Season

The holiday season is quickly approaching. To save time and money, many people now prefer to shop online for gifts. While this is a convenient practice as you simply get whatever you want right at your door, it also entails some risks. Each time you pay for a product, you register your name, bank details, and address on a website. Learn how to keep this precious data safe by recognizing common eCommerce scams.

Account Takeover Fraud

This is a common scam that has been quite popular in the world of online retailers. Many eCommerce platforms have been bombarded with complaints from angry customers who claimed they were charged for goods they’ve never purchased. While these claims were valid as those persons never visited the respective websites to personally buy products, their bank accounts were legitimately charged. This was possible because someone managed to gain hold of their client account and buy products in their name.

There are different ways you can fall victim to this type of scam. The safest way to prevent it is by not sharing your online store account with anyone else. Moreover, when you shop, try to do it from the same device. Also, never register the account you’ve got for an eCommerce platform on a public PC such as the one you use at work or at a library. Minimize the risk of account takeover by keeping your account information confidential and by using complex passwords that are hard to crack.

Fake Online Stores

The internet might not be flooded with this type of stores since most virtual shops are legitimate businesses. However, consumer reports have shown that fake online stores do exist, and unfortunately, they often make significant profits by stealing people’s money.

At first sight, these stores look as real as any other online shop out there. They showcase products, offer discounts, have an online cart nicely displayed in the top right-hand corner, and all the other things you find in any virtual store. Yet, the only thing that’s missing is real merchandise. These websites only offer pictures of products they never intend to sell. After customers complete the purchase, they never receive the ordered goods. There are a few red flags to watch out for to spot and avoid fake online stores:

  • These websites have limited or no information on their Privacy Policy, Terms & Conditions, and About Us pages
  • There is often limited contact information, except for an email address
  • The company doesn’t clearly state its physical address and registration number
  • The prices are often far lower than what you normally have to pay for the products you see
  • There is no or very limited information elsewhere on the web about that company
  • There are many complaints related to that store on other websites from customers who haven’t received products or a refund

Phishing eCommerce Offers

One of the most common internet threats these days is phishing. This refers to an illegal way of obtaining a person’s sensitive information such as their banking information or address. Many of these forms of cybercrime have been linked to online retailers.

Phishing scams typically involve offering people an irresistible opportunity to convince them to provide their personal information. With the holiday season approaching, many consumers tend to fall for these scams easier as it is normal to expect great discounts in this period.

Equipped with an excellent offer, scammers either approach people through marketing emails, which are also quite common and seem legitimate in this period, or through fake ads posted on social media or search engines.

The purpose is always the same – getting hold of useful sensitive information such as names, addresses, social security numbers, and bank account information. To obtain this data, scammers leverage their offering. To access the alleged discounts, people need to subscribe to a website and complete a purchase. This is how data theft occurs. After the victims provide their information by filling in a form or creating an account, scammers take what they need and vanish.

Phishing scams have different purposes. The authors might need the information they steal to impersonate someone, try to test or access their credit card to purchase goods, open accounts in someone else’s name, or claim social benefits on behalf of someone else.

Stay safe while buying gifts for your beloved ones. Online shopping is fast and extremely convenient, but you should always exercise caution and try to buy from reputable platforms only.

Post by Clearwater Management Korea.