As more and more people tend to buy most of their necessities online, especially in the festive seasons and the New Year, there are concerns about the possibility of them being exposed to widespread fraud. According to a recent study published, it is expected that fraud in e-commerce will grow this year by up to 18% globally.
Where the study shows an increase in online frauds with many people taking online shopping as a way of life, and then this confirms that the need to protect yourself while shopping online has become an absolute necessity so as not to become a victim of a fraud in which you lose large amounts of money in order to Buy the product that you most desire in order to gift it to a family member or friend.
The most important threats that you should know when shopping online
Online scams often appear to be carefully planned and in unexpected ways to appear honest; This is because cybercriminals devise different tactics every time to carry out their attacks. It is often a matter of information. Thus, the more aware and knowledgeable you are about online shopping fraud, the more likely you are to discover the process and vice versa.
The most common tactic used by cybercriminals to defraud online shoppers is by posting unwanted advertisements that appear on your screen while you are browsing online. Under normal circumstances, these ads may already be offering products at substantial discounts.
But cybercriminals are now using it to launch attacks, especially on websites that do not implement the HTTPS secure encryption protocol . These ads can be encrypted with malware to lure you to malicious websites.
Identity theft is also one of the most common security risks when shopping online; Where cybercriminals can hack websites and steal login credentials or debit or credit card details of users.
They then impersonate users and make unauthorized purchases, and even if they are not, your collected personal information is often sold to the highest bidder who in turn uses it to carry out phishing scams.
The method of creating fake electronic stores on the Internet is one of the most prominent methods that cybercriminals use to attract shoppers as well, by pushing the addresses of these sites to the top of the search results.
Also, using public Wi-Fi for online shopping is not a good idea. Which is what cybercriminals are waiting for because it allows data to be transmitted across networks without encryption, as the cybercriminal creates a routing point between you and the original website which is known as the Man In The Middle attack .
How to protect yourself from security threats when shopping online
Cybercriminals are exploiting online vulnerabilities to defraud shoppers, and unfortunately this is not going to stop anytime soon, but the good news is that you can protect yourself by taking the following precautions:
Update your browser and operating system
Keeping your device’s operating system and web browser up to date keeps you greatly protected; These updates protect your devices and apps from vulnerabilities and enhance the security of your devices to prevent online attacks. So the next time you see a notification to update the operating system or application do it immediately, and you can check for updates manually in the settings page.
Use a powerful and reliable antivirus.
Installing powerful antivirus software with a well-known name allows you to detect malware even without your intervention; It works in the background to scan the device automatically and sometimes goes so far as to prevent you from logging into a website that is found to be malicious.
Avoid using discount cards
Using a credit card for online shopping is safer than using a debit card; This is because a credit card has greater consumer protection if something goes wrong. Thus, if you pay for products with your credit card and the products are not delivered to you, you can get your money back from the company that issued the card, in addition, if fraudsters steal your card details and make unauthorized purchases, you can stop this once you report the purchase quickly.
Do not go to unsafe websites
When shopping online make sure to buy from websites that encrypt your information and it is better to enter the website address manually rather than relying on search results. Basically avoid websites that don’t have HTTPS in their URL or a padlock icon next to the URL that indicates that your personal information is encrypted.
Use a VPN
Most of the free Wi-Fi networks available in public places are unsafe and a prime target for cybercriminals, so if you have to use one when you are abroad, make sure to activate the VPN app on your phone or computer to protect your data and financial information.
This is because a VPN will mask your identity online by encrypting your internet traffic. This makes it difficult for cybercriminals to track your activities and steal your data.
Finally, it can be said that putting a little effort into knowing and finding security measures for online shopping can save you from significant risks; So next time you shop online, be vigilant and don’t just focus on good products and discounts but look out for signs of cyber threats as well.