Fraud in e-Commerce: Common Scams and How to Avoid Them

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As e-commerce continues to grow, so do the complications that come with it. Fraudsters and scammers have unfortunately come together and abused the platforms that make the industry so accessible to the mainstream. ACI Worldwide shared data that showed how the rate of attempted e-commerce fraud even increased by 13% as of 2020.

When teaching young ones to navigate the digital world, parents need to be wary of sites that may try to trick children or use their trusting nature to gather information and sensitive data. Make sure that part of the lessons you are teaching your children is how to shop securely online. It’s good to keep them in check and know some of the biggest risks yourself, so that you’re not at the mercy of these scammers in the event that your kid unknowingly misuses your credit card or visits these sketchy sites.

So with that in mind here are some of the most common scams and how to avoid them.

Identity theft

This is one of the most common types of online swindling, and is actually the most prevalent form of payment fraud concerning merchants. Attackers will use your information to steal from you and spend your financial resources. On the other end of the spectrum, Nerd Wallet points out that some attackers simply steal your other personal data so they can create fake customer information and pose as someone else. Aside from the usual gambits, they could use your identity to gain access to healthcare services and even hide from law enforcement. Any of these possibilities are clearly something you want to avoid, so make sure that you only input any crucial information about yourself and your bank details on secure websites.

Ensure that it is safely encrypted and that you are actually on a legit platform. If you are on an unknown webpage, do your research about it first and check if it has a privacy policy, a trust seal, malware protection, and if it uses https. Don’t fill out forms without confirming this information first. Even if you think you’re on a trusted platform, ensure that you’re on the real site and not a copycat. And, of course, the age old internet rule of “don’t click random links that are e-mailed to you.”

Fake listings

This one happens when you get to an alleged seller’s product page and they don’t actually have the items they put up. If that’s not the case, then they actually have a dupe or cheaper variation that they send over. This way, they pocket the money and the buyer suddenly has no way to get a refund.

Make sure you purchase goods from online marketplaces that have return policies and buyer protection policies. Otherwise, screen every seller you come across online to check if their photos are legitimate (not screengrabs) and if their information is actually accurate.

Non-delivery scams

This is often linked to internet auction fraud that entails accepting payment from buyers and intentionally failing to ship out the items. The FBI considers this a form of business fraud and notes how, in many cases, the scammer will even relist the item under a different name to nab someone else.

The same tips from the previous apply here, and you’ll want to be cautious about your payment method. As much as possible, the agency recommends using a credit card so you can dispute charges if something goes wrong. According to Petal Card, disputing credit card charges is often more successful than those made on a debit card. When you use the latter, your funds are actually being used to pay for goods and services and if they turn out to be damaged or, worse, fraudulent, it will be difficult to reverse those charges and get your money back.

Since we — our kids included — have become largely reliant on our devices and they are all connected to the internet, we have to ensure that we are using the best practices when shopping online and applying security measures without leniency. In line with that, Dr. Curtis Levison who is a United States Cyber Defense Advisor to NATO, shared many tips that readers can easily implement to secure their home network and personal devices.

For more information on defending your digital assets, make sure to check out Defending Digital on a regular basis.

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