13 Tips for a Safer and Secure Online Shopping

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  • 15 Sep, 2021  |
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The Internet has revolutionized the conventional shopping regime. From shoes to groceries, from skincare to pizza – the internet lets you order anything and (almost) everything with your phone or PC.

As per the Canadian Internet Use Survey 2020, 82% of Canadians shopped online. They spent around $84 billion in online shopping which is 73% more ($57 billion) than 2020.You don’t need to dress up, burn vehicle gas to reach the store, and get a soft drink, or chocolates. Apart from luxuries, you can also get medicines delivered to your home (even late at night) and have a comfortable sleep.

In 2020, online shopping by States consumers added an extra $105 billion in United States online revenue.In the pandemic, closed stores and the reluctance of consumers to visit stores physically benefited online sellers (kept businesses alive) significantly.

1 13 Tips for a Safer and Secure Online Shopping

Online Shopping Origins

Research finds that this trend isn’t that modern/ latest.

• It began when a 72 years old woman Jane Snowball ordered cornflakes and eggs via Television in 1984.

• The famous Pizza guru Pizza Hut started ‘PizzaNet’ in 1994 to sell Pizzas Online. They had a flat old-fashioned website back then.

Annual active consumers in the Alibaba ecosystem are estimated to be 1.18 billion (2021).
197 million Users visit Amazon every single month. Amazon has 300 million active users (2021).

• In 1994, 1995, and 1999; today's tech giants Amazon, Japan bases (now worldwide) eBay, Alibaba launched and provided the stage for sellers to sell on the web.

Pros and Cons of Online Shopping

Stores and brands prefer having an online presence, in addition to a physical store, because of the rising trend of lending online exposure of your store to the (potential) consumers at home.

Consumers can compare product features and variants, delivery charges and delivery tenure, prices, and much more today than ever before. Shopping online is convenient, smart, and lets you save money online!

• Advantages of Shopping Online


2 13 Tips for a Safer and Secure Online Shopping

• Drawbacks of Shopping Online


3 13 Tips for a Safer and Secure Online Shopping

Frauds in Online Shopping

Online shopping is handy, and you can compare the prices and features.

➤ What’s pivotally crucial on the part of the buyer is:

➤ Will I get the item as ordered?

➤ Will it arrive in time?

➤ Is its life as described in the product description?

➤ Will the product be worth my money?

➤ What are the refund and exchange policies?

➤ Are these policies for real or just a display?

Both sellers and consumers face on-the-web scams:

Types of Ecommerce Fraud for Sellers


4 13 Tips for a Safer and Secure Online Shopping

- Phishing/ Account Takeover

The scammers steal user’s account passwords and personal information to take the power of the account on an online store (some stores require login for shopping).

The legitimate account is now under their control. They can make purchases (without the user’s consent obviously) and may use the information to hack other accounts. This can cost retailers a rotten reputation.

And it’s a (quite) hard chance that that consumer revisits your site – he/ she may also share this experience with friends and close ones.

- Payment Fraud

Fraudsters steal info of unsecured and secured credit cards, email accounts, IP addresses. Then, they use this info to pretend like a real customer.

≈ Fraudulent purchases

≈ Establishment of fake accounts

≈ Manipulation of traffic

Out of all types of frauds, Payment Fraud (Identity Theft) has a 71% share.

All of this plays havoc on the buyer’s reputation.

- Affiliate Fraud

Some online sellers participate in an affiliate program: an advertising campaign, where they show ads and if someone clicks or makes a purchase, they are awarded a commission.

Hackers sometimes manipulate the traffic in a way that the store owner is shown significant visiting traffic on the site. In reality, however, his account income is not (at all) increasing – oftentimes he is paying the fraudsters.

- Triangulation Fraud

Some cybercriminals make fake websites and endorse products at incredible prices. Customers get attracted and make a purchase – which is never arriving at their place. Thus added credit card information is stolen by these scammers to make purchases.

This fraud involves 3 parties:

≈ A real customer
≈ A real e-commerce website
≈ A cheat/ hacker

- Chargeback Fraud
Also known as friendly fraud, fake customers use this tactic to receive items and retailer’s money for free.

They place the order and may complain the credit card – unsecured and secured credit card – company that:

≈ They didn’t get the parcel

≈ They canceled the order but still got it parceled

≈ They returned the product but didn’t get the refund

60 to 70% of all chargeback cases are friendly frauds.

The card companies refund them the money (considering their complaint genuine) from the retailer’s account.

Types of Ecommerce Fraud for Buyers


5 13 Tips for a Safer and Secure Online Shopping

These frauds are quite self-explanatory, and the primary grounds behind online shopping went wrong. Let us now look at some tips to protect yourself as a shopper when shopping online:

13 Tips for a Safer and Secure Online Shopping

Shop from Reputable Online Retailers | Trusted Websites
Avoid Suspiciously Low/ Discounted Products
Don’t Shop on Public Wi-Fi
Check Statements on the Regular Basis
Create Strong Passwords
No Personal Info
Prefer Credit Cards over Debit Cards
Do your Research Before You Buy from a New Online Seller
Secure Connection
Dedicated Email Address for Shopping Online
Ensure the Website URL is Secured
Review Exchange and Return Policies

Shop from Reputable Online Retailers | Trusted Websites

Always prefer trusted, renowned, and familiar online retailers whenever you decide to make a purchase and hand over your credit card information plus personal details.

Even if you consider buying from a new website – ask a friend or colleague before investing.

Avoid Suspiciously Low/ Discounted Products

If a product at other stores is $500, but you are getting it at $50; isn’t this deal too good to be true? Well, it’s quite a chance!

Possibilities are:

☐ Seller is just stealing your info to get more money

☐ You would receive a cheap substitute

☐ The item won’t be working

☐ You are not receiving anything at all

Don’t Shop on Public Wi-Fi

3% of the population is scammed, in online fraud, worldwide.

Using public Wi-Fi being at a public place is quite dangerous. Somebody may be peeping into your information from a distance (without your consent). These are some of the many ways credit card information is stolen.

Don’t Skip the Shipping Terms of the Online Retailer

You are getting the products at a comparatively low price and think you are saving a good amount of money. Later, you place an order and a handsome amount of shipping costs get added to your total bill.

This could get costly. So check beforehand:

- What courier company do they use?

- Would you get a tracking ID?

- Are they providing any insurance?

Check Statements on the Regular Basis

Whether you are an unsecured or a secured credit card user or use a debit card for shopping online – don't rely on electronic statements on month-end.

Keep an eye on your incoming and outgoing bills weekly so that any cheating activity, it happens, gets your attention and you take action on the spot.

Create Strong Passwords

Log in to websites only when you intend to make buys through that site.

80% of all cybercrimes are due to stolen or frail passwords.Log in to websites only when you intend to make buys through that site.


6 13 Tips for a Safer and Secure Online Shopping

Little do you know that around 1 million passwords are hacked every single week. So, it’s crucial to create strong and uneasy-to-guess pins.

Use an amalgam of uppercase and lowercase letters jumbled up with numbers and dedicate one password to one account only – don’t repeat passwords.

No Personal Info

The generally inquired info when shopping online is:

- Method of payment
- Email address
- Shipping address
- Telephone number

Info like SSN Social Security Number, Driver’s License is totally irrelevant. So, always be cautious lending your information. Since you are unfamiliar with whether or not the retailer is selling/ renting your data to 3rd parties.

Prefer Credit Cards over Debit Cards

In 2020, $117 million were lost in debit card fraud.Experts advise using credit cards, both unsecured and secured credit cards, for shopping online. They advise designating one credit card for shopping online. So, if any fraudulent activity is noted – that card could be shut down immediately without interrupting other transactions.

In 2020, $117 million were lost in debit card fraud.

Debit cards have more liabilities and less security than most credit cards. Moreover, a credit card is not enabling access to your money in contrast with debit cards.

Do your Research Before You Buy from a New Online Seller

Look for online reviews, company addresses, and other ways to verify the authenticity.

Secure Connection

The web address should begin with "HTTPS:" instead of "HTTP:" like: https://www.amazon.com/

Dedicated Email Address for Shopping Online

To avoid risking all email addresses, dedicate only one for shopping online, in case it gets hacked.

Ensure the Website URL is secured

Check this before making a purchase.

Review Exchange and Return Policies

These policies reflect the site’s credibility and how interested they are to serve their shoppers.

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