Internet Fraud: 7 Preventive Ways to Protect Yourself

With the use of technology in business, it is important to secure yourself from scam websites and protect your online store from prevalent internet fraud.

In today’s world, shopping has become easy,  as it now takes place online. Business revolution accounts for the drastic change in the way of executing and processing business transactions.

The high rate of fraudulent activities on E-commerce websites poses a huge loss to both the customers and the business.

Will you fold your hands until you have your share of internet fraud experience as a business or customer in the E-commerce marketplace? I believe your answer is no!

So keep reading to get more information about E-Commerce fraud.

What is Internet Fraud?

E-commerce fraud is the fraudulent activity that targets online stores to gain access to undue financial gains.

Internet Fraud: 7 Preventive Ways to Protect Yourself

Businesses and customers can be victims of E-Commerce fraud like phishing, pharming and credit card fraud. So, detecting and preventing E-commerce scams becomes paramount for everyone.

While you can easily detect fraudulent moves physically, how can you detect internet frauds online.

Internet Fraud Prevention On Ecommerce Sites

1. Getting Strange Emails Or Texts

Usually, businesses requires you provide certain information before you can continue with your online purchase.

Imagine you did not sign up nor initiate any transaction but you just received an OTP. This type of internet fraud is Phishing.

Phishing is an e-commerce fraud that attempts to gain access to your important information once you click a malicious link.

Accessing your sensitive information can enable Scammers to perform transactions through your bank account and also steal from you.

These Scammers on online shopping sites like Amazon get their victims through some gimmicks.

Beware that it can be a fraud if you face the following.

  • Getting an unsolicited code or message: Scammers go the extra mile of disguising to get people to take action. 
  • Receiving pop-up links and other click baits: They can also request you click on a link.
  • Receiving unrealistic offers, discounts and coupons from brands you have no affiliations with. Trying to follow through the process of such offers can get you on the hook of these online scammers.

On many occasions, these scammers send a generic message to a lot of people and make untrue claims. You can also receive a clone phishing attack. This involves getting a malicious email or link from an existing genuine e-mail. These emails may require that you click the scam link to secure your account from a recent attack. 

Once you get such unexpected suspicious messages, just know that you are under a Phishing attack. Hence, don’t attempt to click the link or share your information with these sites.

2. Contactless E-commerce Website

Let’s say that you need to purchase a high-end phone from Jumia Black Friday for the first time.

Then you look at the site but could not find any contact details nor relevant certifications. This is an indicator that they could be a scam shopping website. 

Fraudulent e-commerce websites use invalid addresses, phone numbers and emails to deceive some vulnerable customers.

They use fake reviews and ratings to convince their victims who make their buying decisions based on other customer’s reviews.

Therefore, it is important to confirm business addresses on Google Maps. Avoid buying from online shops with little or no relevant information about the seller.

3. Misleading Sales Techniques

Another internet fraud method is using misleading sales techniques.

Scam online stores use persuasive techniques to market and sell their products to prospective customers.

However, there are red flags that differentiate real business sites from the numerous fake e-commerce sites out there.

While there is nothing wrong with you or a business making business calls for consultation, processing orders and telemarketing purposes, beware of businesses that want you to agree over the phone. This is a big risk that can land you in trouble.

These scammers can still interpret your discussion as an agreement since phone calls leave no trace of the details of the call except you have its recording.

You can also record your phone calls and avoid sharing sensitive details about your credit card and bank account over the phone.

To be on the safer side, you can request to use an official written communication channel like E-mail.

This will help both parties to have a record of the content and you will also get to go through complicated material at your convenience before making any decision.

4. Urgent Messages Signifies Internet Fraud

Usually, you follow a particular process to take a series of actions over and over again on E-commerce sites.

Scam websites tend to send urgent messages via email to their targets, posing as family members, colleagues at work or business partners.

They do this to manipulate people to send money, buy items from a particular E-commerce website and take other urgent steps. 

It will be suspicious for you to get an email from your elder sister or an organisation that does not ask you for money, requesting that you send them money through a link in the email. It is more likely that scammers are at work.

Internet fraud perpetrator try to get to their victims in the guise of someone else using means that are sometimes contradictory to their normal process of interaction and communication.

This way they present the situation as urgent and implore their victims to act fast.

When you get an urgent-sounding message from a known and unknown source in an irregular manner of communication, especially via email, try to reach out to the person or organisation through another means before taking any action.

Don’t click links or attachments that come with the email. It can be a dead trap.

5. Identity Masking During Transaction

Businesses direct their customers to complete their transactions on their sites through popular payment methods. On the other hand, a scam shopping website use unpopular payment methods.

Scam websites use inaccurate URLs that redirect customers from a genuine site to a malicious site. These obscure URLS lead to scam sites where people make payments or share their information. This type of cyberattack is called pharming a website. 

Its victim loses sensitive details and information to the scam site without clicking on any link on the site.

The fake website steals your information once you arrive on the site. Some imitate genuine company’s login, sign up and payment page. That way, they steal unsuspecting customers’ information.

Some scam sites go to the extent of leaving malicious software on your device.

To identify fake e-commerce websites, it is essential to examine links thoroughly to check for abnormalities.

Scam websites will show you a web address different from the link text. This means that the link will lead you to a different website.

Other irregularities on websites that indicate fraud include the use of wrong spellings.

Wrong spelling like using the number “1” to replace “i”, and “0” to replace “o”. Changing a similar letter to another one, like changing ” s” to “x” or “b” to “p”. 

Internet fraudsters make a change in the punctuation mark of the original site to create a scam site.

Also, you can check the domain age via whois look up to know how long they have been in existence. Once you confirm it is relatively new, you should be careful.

6. Fake Contest Winner

E-commerce fraud sometimes takes place in a fake online store. They continuously bombard people with scary messages of malware infecting their devices.

Therefore, they nudge their victims to click the link to get things right.

In some cases, you may receive a message that you are among the few lucky winners of a contest. Funny enough, there is no trace of you enrolling in the so-called contest.

However, the email will ask you to click the link to claim your price. Since people generally like freebies, giveaways, prizes and awards, scammers use this popular way to get most victims of internet fraud.

You need to understand that nothing is free even in Free Town. Don’t desperately click on links leading to sites you know nothing about.

Instead, type in the name of the company giving you the generous offer on the browser to look up what people have to say about them since the Internet never forgets.

7. Poor Website Design

Scam websites do their best to appear as professional as possible.

Notwithstanding, some e-commerce fraud websites still have low UI/UX design that does not speak well of a reputable brand. This is a big indicator that the site is not genuine.

Since big brands always want to portray a good image of the brand, if the site you are looking at looks shabby, don’t go further to click on any link on the site.

Enter and search the name of the business on the search engine, then carefully examine the results on the Search Engine Result Page (SERP) to know the right link that leads to their website. 

It is the reason I recommend business owners to get a professional ecommerce website design.

Conclusion On Internet Fraud

E-commerce fraud is on the increase and you have to continuously protect yourself and your business from cyber attacks.

Early detection and prevention of internet fraud is essential for your business growth and seamless online shopping experience.

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