When it comes to shopping online, safety is always a top concern. Unfortunately, there are many scams and fraudsters out there who are looking to take advantage of innocent shoppers. A CPA Canada 2021 Fraud Study revealed that 73% of those surveyed have received fraudulent requests, primarily through email (44%) and telemarketing (33%). Moreover, 33% reported falling victim to one or more types of fraud. These numbers emphasize our need to remain vigilant against this ever-growing threat. This blog post will share tips on recognising and Avoiding Fraud And Scams online. By following these simple guidelines, you can be more aware of any sign of a scam, and with the proper security measures, you can stay protected when shopping online.
What is an online scam?
An online scam is a fraudulent activity that aims to deceive consumers into providing private information, such as credit card numbers or bank account details. Scammers use various tactics to manipulate victims, such as making false promises of rewards, posing as legitimate businesses, and sending fake emails with malicious links.
How to recognize online fraud?
Online fraud can be challenging to recognize, but there are some tell-tale signs you should look out for.
1) Be wary of unsolicited messages or emails, especially those that appear to come from a legitimate business or organization. Scammers often try to convince you to click on malicious links by offering gifts or discounts.
2) Requests for personal information – Legitimate businesses should not ask for sensitive information such as bank account details, social security numbers, credit card numbers or passwords. If you receive a request like this, contact the company directly to verify the request is legitimate.
3) Another sign of a potential scam is poor grammar and spelling mistakes in communication materials like email messages or on websites and pages claiming to belong to legitimate companies.
4) Be wary of any offers that require upfront payment fees before receiving a product or service. Also, look out for requests for payments via unusual methods such as gift cards; these are usually signs of a scam.
5) Fake reviews can be difficult to spot as they often mimic real customer experiences convincingly. However, if someone claims something that seems too good to be true (such as products being ‘the best’), take it with a grain of salt and do some additional research before making decisions.
6) Check for signs that the website is secure such as HTTPS in the address bar (this indicates an encrypted connection). Also, check whether a website includes company contact details like an address and telephone number so you can easily reach out if needed. Finally, ensure proper privacy policies outline how they will use your data safely when browsing their site or making payments through them.
How can I protect myself from online fraud?
The best way to protect yourself from online fraud is to be aware and proactive about your online security.
- Use strong passwords and two-factor authentication when creating accounts on websites and apps.
- Avoid clicking on suspicious links in emails or other messages, and always double-check the sender’s details and the content of the message. In addition, be sure to alert the company or institution that the scammers are trying to imitate.
- Never send out email signatures or account numbers. Trustworthy file-sharing services are a much better option for securely transferring this type of sensitive information.
- Be mindful of what you post online, including personal information like bank account numbers or passwords.
- Install security software on your computer to protect against malware, viruses, and other malicious threats.
- Regularly update your system and apps with the latest security patches.
- Research any companies you plan to do business with before providing them with any payment information.
- If something doesn’t feel right about a transaction, don’t proceed and contact authorities if needed.
Online scams are a real threat, but with the proper knowledge and security measures, you can stay safe when shopping online. Always be mindful of potential frauds, double-check requests for personal information and do your research to make sure any companies you’re dealing with are legitimate. With these steps, you can protect yourself from becoming a victim of an online scam.