As the digital age continues to unfold before us, online shopping scams continue to rise. Scammers and internet hackers have a knack for keeping up with all the latest digital trends. Fraudsters from around the world make tons of money each year. By taking advantage of people with little knowledge of the online world, it is super easy for them. Victims of cybercrimes are real people behind the screens of many unique types of online scams.
Convinced that she found someone who loved her, Georgina was a victim of a Facebook romance scam. Her children signed her up and taught her how to connect with them and her grandchildren online. Little did she know that making friends with a stranger, and scammer, named Jim would empty her pockets and fill his.
We could also look at Leo’s story, where he ended up giving his life savings in desperate hope of gaining an inheritance. These are 2 out of millions of sad scamming stories that occur every year online.
We must all be aware and gain the knowledge we need to stop scammers in their tracks to protect our loved ones.
Online Shopping Scams Are Evolving
Shopping scams have been around for as long as the e-commerce world has been a reality. Due to regular social media updates, online shopping scams are evolving on a daily basis.
Scammers take advantage of social media e-commerce features by setting up fake accounts and online stores. The products they sell are either knock off versions of the real thing or don’t exist at all. Online fraudsters will also use these Facebook accounts to advertise a fake website. They will then try to entice oblivious users to buy goods through unsafe portals.
The Federal Trade Commission reported that the amount of complaints about online shopping scams more than tripled in the past year. Needless to say, this will only continue to rise without more awareness and education.
How To Stay Safe While Shopping Online Or Through Social Media
The rate of growth for online shopping scams versus e-commerce sales is 30% greater since 2017. There has been an e-commerce fraud increase by 45% in 2017. There is nothing wrong with shopping online, in fact since Covid-19 it has been a favorable option for many people. It’s important that we remain alert and ahead of the game to avoid becoming a victim of fraud.
Here are six ways you can stay safe and aware while enjoying the perks of online shopping:
Method of Payment
Often scammers will get a victim to pay using a money order or wire transfer. This method makes it easy for fraudsters to remain anonymous, keep your cash and fail to send you the product. When you are purchasing something online make sure you trust the payment method. Try to avoid using Bitcoin or other virtual currencies because there is little regulation.
If scammers ask for an up-front payment from an unsafe method, it is almost impossible for you to reclaim the money spent. Using a credit card online can be a lot safer than using a debit card because of the protection against fraudulent charges.
Look For Customer Reviews
The best way to detect a fake trader or social media online shopping scam is to search for online customer reviews. Make sure the reviews seem legit and genuine, otherwise they could also be false. Customer reviews on external sites will also be a great way to make sure the site you are browsing is safe.
Research The Site You Are Purchasing From
When it comes to safe browsing and online shopping, we recommend you make sure you’ve done your research on the various stores that interest you. Be certain that the brand URLs are correct as well, fraudsters will use similar URLs to throw victims off.
Check The Refund or Returns Policy
If the store does not have open access to a refund or returns policy, then this should be a red flag. Every e-commerce store should have a solid returns policy in place to avoid bad customer service.
Don’t Trust Everything You See On Social Media
Just because an advert pops up on your Facebook or Instagram feed, does not mean it is from a credible source. Fraudsters are using these features to mine for user’s personal information, banking information and at the end of the day free cash!
Read more on how to spot and avoid scams on Facebook and Instagram.
Never Give Out Personal Information
The best rule of thumb for all types of scams is to keep your personal information personal. There is no need to share your social security number, bank details or any other private information with anyone online.
Avoid Scammers With The Anti-Fraud News
The Anti-Fraud News website has been set up to ensure that you are up to date on all the latest fraud news. When you are aware of the tactics behind the scammer culture then the internet will be a much safer place for you and your family. Awareness is your best defense against unwanted scams. For more information, visit our website www.antifraudnews.com.