Online Shopping Scams: How To Be Safe From E-scams?

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Scammers pose as reputable online vendors, either with a scam website or a fraudulent advertisement on a legitimate online website, in online shopping scams. While many online shopping websites are reputable, fraudsters might take advantage of the internet’s anonymity to defraud naive customers. 

Scammers employ cutting-edge technology to create fake shopping websites that appear to be legitimate online retail establishments. They may employ sophisticated designs and layouts, maybe stolen trademarks, and even a domain name identical to that of a legitimate retailer.

Many of these websites sell luxury things at rock-bottom costs, including prominent brands of apparel, jewelry, and technology. Occasionally, you will receive the thing for which you paid.If you receive anything, it will most likely be a counterfeit of the item you thought you purchased. Sometimes you’ll get nothing at all. 

The method of payment is the most obvious indicator that a retail website is a fraud. Fraudsters may frequently encourage you to pay with a money order, preloaded money card, or wire transfer, but it is doubtful that you will see your money again or receive your purchased goods if you do so.

Types of Online Shopping Scams

1. E-Commerce Scams

Since 2018, e-commerce fraud-related losses will have nearly doubled to approximately $6.4 million. It is essential to understand the hallmarks of e-commerce scam in order to protect yourself and your funds. Credit card fraud, identity theft, chargebacks, and fake refunds are the most typical sorts of e-commerce themes. These have an impact on both customers and retailers.

Late-night orders, drop box addresses, things listed for sale outside of the nation, expedited delivery, free/anonymous email services, large cost transactions, and circumstances where the “ship to” address differs from the billing address are all red flags of suspected fraud.

2. Scam Online Auctions 

According to the Internet Crime Complaint Center Report from 2005, online auctions accounted for 62.7 percent of all reported Internet Scam cases. And the figures are just getting worse.

While many people have positive experiences with online auctions, others have encountered fraud, obtaining damaged or misrepresented products, and having their bank accounts stolen. 

Do your research on the auction site, the merchandise, and the seller before placing a bid. Read the terms and service agreement carefully. Also, read the comments posted by other purchasers regarding the vendor and his or her merchandise. You should also read the small print and make sure the seller has a return policy.

3. Fake Websites  

Another Internet Scam that is making the rounds is the use of phoney websites. These sites seem like authentic e-commerce sites, with legitimate-looking logos, images, and payment choices.

A more recent kind of online shopping Scam involves the use of social media platforms to create fraudulent online storefronts.

Fraudsters frequently open the business for a limited period and offer counterfeit branded apparel or jewelry. 

The stores vanish after a certain amount of sales. Fraudsters also use social media to promote their bogus websites, so don’t trust a site simply because you saw it advertised or shared on social media. 

Before making a purchase, the simplest approach to spot a phony trader or a social network online shopping Scam is to look for reviews.

Signs of Risk

  1. Prices are rock-bottom. Norton, an internet security organization, advises customers to be cautious if discounts surpass 55%. 
  2. Poor web design or bad English. Real shops put a lot of effort into their internet presence. 
  3. Contact options are limited or questionable, for example, they just offer a fill-in contact form, or the customer-service email is a Yahoo or Gmail account, not a business one. 
  4. URLs that contain superfluous words or characters (most businesses use simply their brand name in web addresses) or uncommon domains, such as.bargain,.app, or a foreign domain instead

A few things to protect yourself 

1. Is this offer too good to be true? 

Does the product displayed correspond to the price? Understand the market. A fantastic product at a low cost is cause for concern.

At first sight, you might believe you’re getting a good price, but think about it. For a product of such size, the price would barely cover the cost of shipping and processing.

2. If in doubt, Search the Business On Google. 

When in doubt, search for the product name or save the image and conduct a Google image search. You should be able to locate the original source.

If the product exists – unlike this CG baby shark that one firm used as an ad for its supposed baby shark robot toy – you have the option of paying the original artist for their efforts or taking the risk and attempting to obtain a copycat.

The search will also uncover whether there are numerous putative firms selling the same “unique” and “exclusive” products with identical images. When you start seeing double or more, that’s a red flag. 

3. Check the Business Reputation 

Searching for the business name will likely just take you to the business’s site. Instead, search for the business name with the word “scam.” You will be able to tell pretty quickly if there is a worrisome history associated with the business.

You can use websites which are dedicated to identify the trustworthiness of online links. There may be a Better Business Bureau listing for the company, but be careful about relying on these.

4. Too New to Believe 

In certain circumstances, the company is so young that there is no track record to speak of. This is a warning sign. They’re probably one of those businesses that closes down after they’ve received enough orders, then starts with a new name and domain.

There’s a chance it’s a true new business attempting to launch amid a pandemic. Apply some of the following methods to determine the difference between a legal new business and a fly-by-night enterprise.

5. Take a Close Look at the Reviews

Examine the feedback carefully. Back away if there aren’t any. If there are, look for the warning indicators listed below. There are just a few reviews, all of them are five stars with no comments.

If there are any remarks, they are filled with bad English or ambiguous praise that might have come from any product.There are no photographs of the real product in any of the reviews.

There are no negative reviews, which is a warning sign because even the most reputable businesses cannot please everyone all of the time. As a side note, if you’re looking at a reputable product, don’t read too much into the unfavorable reviews.

6. Is this ‘good ‘or a scam website? 

Is the company’s website more than simply a Facebook page? If not, that’s a definite no. If they do, is it a whole website or just a few pages?

Check that the business has a working phone number and that it does not have 12 other “companies” affiliated with it when you search the number. Check that it has a postal address, ideally one other than a post office box.

7. Do they have a social media presence? 

Similarly, do they have a social media presence that is separate from the ad that appears in your newsfeed? If not, stay away.

If this is the case, you may click on the poster’s name to learn more about the person or company and when the page was created. You can also examine how far back their postings go, as well as the quality of those posts and corporate dialogue.

8. Be wary of the ‘going out of business’ narrative. 

Legitimate companies are shutting during the epidemic. Illegitimate enterprises have seized on this as a method to exploit people’s emotions in order to defraud shoppers.

Checking the commencement date on website domain registrations and social media sites is one approach to distinguish real enterprises from scams. Steer clear if the company appeared during the epidemic only in time to go out of business.

9. Clickbait advertising is a fad. 

Keep an eye out for crazy things. On any hot or trendy item, knockoffs and ripoffs exist. Marketers are now catching up on political trends. The same thing happens when it comes to political news. Again, following the methods outlined above will assist you in determining which items are genuine.

10. Social influence psychological tricks 

Keep an eye out for typical marketing methods discovered by social scientist Robert Cialdini that are employed by both legitimate and illicit firms.

Claims of exclusive access, which appeal to your need for uniqueness, claims of limited supply or time running out on a “sale,” which play on the psychological value people place on scarce items, and claims like “Karen S. from Indianola just purchased this item,” which are “social proof” that a behaviour is safe or appropriate because others have done it are the most common you are likely to see in scam sites.


Methods for dealing with financial losses caused by cybercrime

1. When you are duped into making a payment 

Since 2019, the vast majority of institutions have agreed to a voluntary guideline governing how money made to fraudsters should be handled.This only applies to payments that have been authorized by the victim, i.e. payments that you have made or approved.

According to the rule, banks cannot simply dismiss victim allegations, but must examine and determine whether the bank has accomplished its responsibility to safeguard you from making these sorts of payments.

Report the scam to your bank’s Scam team 

 The first step is for you to notify your bank’s scam team of the problem. The bank will launch an inquiry as a result of this. Your bank has 15 days to investigate and report back on whether it would refund your money. 

There are three possible outcomes for reimbursement: 

Full refund – your bank admits they didn’t do enough to notify you about the transfer, therefore you receive your money back in full. 

No refund – your bank finds that their warnings were enough and that you ignored them or were ‘negligent’ in your own checks, thus they pay you no money back.

50% Reimbursement – you could have done more, and the bank could have done more, which is referred to as Shared Responsibility. You will receive half of your money back. 

Making a complaint – If you do not get a complete refund, you could file a complaint with the Cybercrime wing of local police. They may side with you if they consider the bank’s warnings were insufficient, ineffective, or ineffective – or if the bank should have recognised the very unusual transactions.

2.When a criminal uses your accounts to make a payment

In this case, the criminal gained access to your online bank account and executed the transaction, despite the fact that you did not authorise the payment.

This is typical when people are duped into granting remote access to their computers, allowing the criminal to take control and access the online bank account. 

The government has issued guidelines governing how the bank must handle this situation. If the payment was made within the previous 13 months, the bank cannot verify that you authorized it, and the bank does not feel you behaved with gross carelessness, you should be able to get your money back.

3.When you are impersonated by a financial institution. 

In this case, a criminal has exploited your personal information to impersonate you with a financial institution. They might have obtained a loan, a credit card, or a mobile phone contract in your name.

If you want, you can also get insurance to avoid cyber fraud. Several companies provide such insurance.

The Reserve Bank has issued new guidelines on customer protection, limited liability of customers in unauthorized electronic banking transactions (Customer Protection Limiting Liability of Customers in Unauthorized Electronic Banking Transactions).