While this article is for the consumer, those that have eCommerce stores on your web site should take notice to make sure you are not making these issues unintentionally.
Stay Safe While Shopping Online: A Guide for Consumers
Online shopping has become a convenient way to purchase goods and services in this new digital age. Follow this simple check list to keep you safe. Did you know that this time of year, hackers, spammers, fraudsters, and phishers are working overtime. Do Not Be A Victim!
- Who was the Email From – Really!
With phones and other email clients now days, it can be difficult to determine the REAL email sender is from. Take an extra minute to see who the email was sent from. The Hackers, spammers and phishers wanting to scam you can make the email it really came from your bank, PayPal, or anyone else. The real email address will tell you who sent the email to you.
Keep in mind the favorite email service these “people” like to use is the free services like Gmail, Yahoo Email, Outlook.com. If you are in business, will you please stop sending from your Free Email Service!! Personally, when I get an offer of some sort and see the person used the favorite email service to send fake offers, I immediately delete the email and report it as junk/spam, unless I know them personally.
- Check the URL (web address)
Just like the email, this link that could be in an email or someplace else can be easily masked to look like anything. For instance, this fake link YoureaLotteryWinner.com link looks like a legitimate link. But looks are deceiving. If you are on a computer place your mouse over the link and you will see the real link. And if its not the same high chance it’s a bad link.
- Beware of Subdomain Trickery
Cybercriminals, often referred to as jackers, have been known to use a technique call subdomain trickery. They create a fake website that looks like a legitimate one (see point 1 & 2 above), using the legitimate website’s domain as a subdomain on their fake domain. Example, instead of www.myrealsite.net, the fake site might be www.myrealsite.fakedomain.com. Always double-check the URL (link) to ensure you’re on the correct website. Only takes a few seconds.
- Use Secure Payment Methods
When making a purchase, use secure payment methods such as credit cards or payment services like PayPal. These methods often offer consumer protection features in case something goes wrong. And yes, if your Debit card has a Visa or MasterCard logo, in many cases it has the same protection.
- Keep Software (aka Apps) Updated
Ensure that your device’s operating system, browser, and security software are up-to-date. Updates often include security patches that protect against known vulnerabilities that hackers could exploit.
- Be very Wary of Deals that are Too Good to Be True
This goes without saying, but the hackers know it works! If the deal seems too good to be true, it probably is! Scammers often lure consumers with unbelievable low prices. Always research the seller and read reviews before making a purchase. By following these tips, you can enjoy the convenience of online shopping while minimizing your risk of falling victim to cybercriminals.
Stay Safe! And Happy Shopping!