Don't rely on luck. Everyone’s worst nightmare is being a victim of fraud when shopping online. With so many scams, fake links and viral horror stories out there, it’s important to protect yourself while not making you afraid to purchase online. Here are our top tips to avoid shopping fraud:
Use a Strong Password
Strong passwords make it harder for crooks to access your details. Preferably, use a different password for each site but if that’s not practical then at the very least use a minimum of eight characters, mixing your upper and lower case and including numbers or special symbols.
Avoid Suspicious Websites
Try to stick to the bigger name retailers or if it’s a small site, check they have a trusted method of payment like PayPal. If you’re still unsure, see if the company has any online reviews or a Facebook page. If you can’t find anything about it, it may be wise to give it a miss. Make sure ordering pages start with https:// - the ‘s’ means it’s secure.
Be Wary of Unmoderated Listings
Popular sites like eBay and Craigslist can be great for a bargain, but the sellers don’t have to be checked out before they can sell. Item descriptions and pictures may not be truly representative of what you buy – check out the seller’s feedback and see if others have had any problems. Better yet still, check out the item in person before continuing the transaction. If the item is too far from home for you to make the trip, think about sending a local to review the item on your behalf.
Watch out for Bait and Switch
The real risk here is with large items such as with houses. Say you take part in an online auction or you need to move and so hunt out your dream home online. Are you really buying what they’re saying you are? Always do your research, look up the address and the person selling to make sure they’re genuine; a trusted third party verification company like WeGoLook can also help with this.
If it Looks Odd, Don’t Click it
A favorite of the online fraudster can be to send you an email which looks as if it’s come from a trusted source, such as a shop you’ve used before or a payment site like PayPal. Before clicking a hyperlink, check the email to see if it looks legitimate and the url in the address bar to make sure it isn’t taking you to a website other than the one you expected. Remember, legitimate businesses will never ask for your security details, payment details or passwords via email.
Flash the Plastic
Paying with a credit card often comes with extra security, like fraud protection. It means, if the worst happens, you can contact your card company and they’ll set the wheels in motion to you getting your money back and preventing further misuse of your card.
Don’t reveal too much on social media and avoid adding people you don’t know to your various social media channels. Unknown followers could be fishing for little details such as pet/children’s names, important dates and more in order to guess your security question answers guarding your bank account. The same thing applies when using ‘local’ sites such as Gumtree or Craigslist, be extra vigilant and never disclose personal information.
Keep an Eye on Paperwork
Check your bank and credit card statements regularly to make sure nothing out of the ordinary appears. Catching something unusual, early gives you the best possible chance of recouping any losses and stopping any irreversible damage. If you spot anything that you think you’ve not purchased personally, contact your bank straight away.
Don’t Shop on ‘Free’ Wi-Fi
When you use your mobile device on someone else’s Wi-Fi then you’re putting yourself at risk of someone getting hold of your personal data. Open networks are generally unsecured and it could allow someone running on the same network, to take your card number and sell it on.
Use a Trusted Third Party Review Company
If you’re still unsure before making a purchase then it can be a weight off your mind to have a trusted third party check everything over for you and give you an unbiased audit. WeGoLook offers product verification and reviews, giving you peace of mind when it comes to shopping online.
We hope you’re never a victim of online fraud but we’re confident that if you can stick to these tips you have the best possible chance of remaining a happy shopper! If you have any questions or would like to know more about what WeGoLook can help with then please don’t hesitate to get in touch.