Baits to avoid Shopping Online

Posted: December 11, 2011 in All Categories
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A busy month pasts by while last month I traveled to US and missed some great deals on Thanksgiving, i thought to redeem it on the subsequent Cyber Monday and it was experience with hard lessons to tell, while online shopping draws hordes with its good bargains and convenience, it is also an easy trap for many customers, I have been spoofed once so far myself this year 🙂 and more over learnt a lot consulting 1 new startup on creating a Online Deals website in India and the chores which come along with it. Giving s(h)ackers too much information or being waylaid by bogus e-commerce sites makes you susceptible to identity theft and fraud. Knowing ourself how to spot a fake deal and protect yourself if a great deal in itself today. Here are some traps I think we should avoid while we shop Online at any cost…

The ‘STEAL’ deal

While trawling the Net for a product you want to buy, you come across a site that offers it at a much lower price than is available in retail stores. In fact, the Website is offering you a 40-60% discount!

How to avoid it: It’s true that online stores can offer higher discounts than brick-and-mortar ones as they save on storage and rental costs. But you should never jump at the first cheap offer you get. Try out at least five shopping portals for the same product and note the prices they are offering.

Usually, there is hardly any difference in the prices quoted by these sites, which range from 10-15%. If a Website is offering the product at a discount of more than 25% compared with the average price, avoid it. It’s probably a bogus site or has used the old trick of hiking the MRP and then offering a discount. Another possibility is that it will tack on charges about which it hasn’t informed you upfront.

Dubious payment

You have purchased an item online, and instead of taking you to a gateway where you can give your card details, the site asks you to transfer the payment amount directly.

How to avoid it: Steer clear of this payment route since you cannot cancel the charges if the product you thought you have purchased doesn’t reach you. Take this option only if you have used the Website for at least 10 prior purchases and have never faced a problem. It’s best to pay by credit card or opt for ‘cash on delivery’.

Preferably, you should use only one credit card for shopping online and monitor the account regularly to keep track of identity theft. You could also choose to pay through a cash card or virtual credit card. These are safer as they are not linked to your bank account.

Unsafe connection

You are logged in to a public Wi-Fi connection or are shopping online at a cyber caf?.

How to avoid it: Public Wi-Fi connections and hot spots, such as an airport, hotel or cyber caf?, should be avoided as these may not be secure. Even a half-baked hacker can glean financial details that you fill in while paying online. If you use a cyber caf?, ensure that you log out from every site and delete your browsing history completely.

Linked deals

You come across a good deal on social networking sites like Twitter or click on the Facebook homepage of a user who has posted product pictures and claims to give high discounts.

How to avoid it: Don’t trust every deal you see on social networking sites. Usually, the URL for the Websites are shortened on such sites and there is no way you can determine their legitimacy. It is better to search for the site directly and then click on the full address that pops up on the search engine.

Even after this, you should check the authenticity of the site by looking for security labels such as VeriSign or Cybertrust, or for https:// to appear in the URL, on the page where you need to put in your financial details.

Fake mails

You get an unsolicited e-mail that screams ‘sale’. The link takes you to the product and payment gateway of a foreign Website that seems genuine.

How to avoid it: Every unsolicited mail should be treated as spam even if it seems to come from an authentic Website. If you are still keen on the deal, type the address of the site directly in the search box. Hackers often send mails with links that will take you to fraudulent sites that look exactly like the original one.

These fake portals usually have the same name with a minor change in spelling. For instance, flipkart.com could be written as fliipkart.com. Once you conduct the financial transaction, the hacker can access the details of your credit card or bank account.

Mobile app trap

You frequently use your smartphone or tablet PC to buy stuff online, which requires you to download apps.

How to avoid it: While it is safer to use these gadgets to buy items through portals rather than logging in to a public connection, you could still be putting your personal information at risk if you aren’t careful. Before downloading any app on your smartphone or tablet, you must verify the kind of access that these apps ask for on your phone. Choose the ones that require fewer permissions.

You must steer clear of apps that require access to your contact list or other personal details. Whenever you use your smartphone or tablet to shop online, click ‘no’ when the Website asks permission to save or remember your password. If your phone gets stolen, the thief will have easy access to your accounts.

Loose talk

You get a call or mail from your favourite shopping portal asking you to update your password or other personal details.

How to avoid it: Never provide your details to anyone. If you get a call, ask the person on the other end to give you a switchboard number or a customer care number. Check whether it’s the same as that on the website and then call up the number to verify whether the information is really needed. If you get a mail, go to the website directly.

Had any experience similar to the ones above let me know, leave a comment on this post… Till then, take care and have a good week…

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Comments
  1. Saga World says:

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