Business Technology

How to avoid online shopping scams in Pakistan?

online shopping scams and how to avoid them
Written by Zahid Malik

The pandemic changed almost everything including the way we shop. Instead of risking one’s own and anyone else’s life, we were recommended to shop from home. Soon the entire country diverted their attention from the crowds of shops to the systems of online shopping. And once you get comfortable with technology, there is no way out.

There are many benefits of online shopping: time-saving (and since no human contact so life-saving too). Least to no physical labor. Less mental labor (no stress of bargaining for minutes). Cost-effective (no anxiety of public transit or getting stuck in traffic. But it brought some of the evils too. One of the most common ones is the “online shopping scam”.

Rip-off vendors are often lurking on the internet to get any innocent buyer who is even slightly vulnerable to leak any important credentials or just get convinced by their fake offers. Online shopping hoax is one of the very common cybercrimes that need to be addressed. Many factors contribute to it including customer’s casual behavior while sharing personal data online, poor website security, etc.

Every convenient medium has its own pros and cons. If customers are careful and aware enough of the entire e-commerce mechanism, they can surely avoid such frauds easily.

Here are some of the ways in which you can avoid the realm of e-commerce fraud :

Always look up for secure websites

While shopping online the first thing you need to be aware of the website’s security. If you get to see an online store that is new and looks kind of “suspicious”, verify from a friend who has professional experience in e-commerce and who can guide you better. Also, you can figure it out yourself if you have a sharp eye for hoax ads that directly ask you for your personal information, in return for any incentive. Other ways of verification are:

  • Visit the online shopping website directly from a web browser rather than by clicking an email or any social media link you found on WhatsApp or Facebook.
  • Look for product reviews of other customers for the website in order to determine its authenticity.
  • Check if the website has any Facebook groups created by unhappy customers
  • Read the website’s privacy policy

Make sure that your payment is secure

An online shopping store’s URL (address) should always begin with ‘https’ and a closed padlock icon in the address window when you’re about to complete a transaction on it. This means that the information/data shared between your device and the shopping site is encrypted (unable to be easily intercepted or read).  You may also want to re-think storing your credit card details and other personal information on your online store accounts. But never do it because if the website is a fraud, your information could end up in the hands of cybercriminals.

Be aware of the phishers

Phishing is a type of an online attack in which a cybercriminal pretends to be a part of an authentic entity and steals user data, including login credentials and credit card numbers. A phishing attack can have devastating results. For buyers, this includes unauthorized purchases, the stealing of funds, or even identity theft.

 Always keep an eye on suspicious emails and SMS messages such as fake parcel delivery notifications or too-good-to-be-true offers encouraging you to get in quickly or risk missing out. 

Avoid using public wi-fi while shopping online

Think twice before connecting to free public Wi-Fi networks available. Cybercriminals are always looking for a chance to attack and intercept your activities or even set up rogue hotspots for you to connect to. Therefore, never shop or bank online using public Wi-Fi.

Secure your accounts

Use strong and unique passwords if you need to create accounts with online stores. Never reuse your internet banking, email or social media passwords. Some online stores may also offer two-factor authentication as a way to secure your account – requiring something additional to a password and username. Such a secure process can help you keep your data secure online.

Keep your bank statements in check

Instead of waiting for the physical bill to arrive, you should check the electronic statements for your credit card, debit card, and checking accounts regularly. This is important in order to control any fraudulent charges and take immediate action by calling your bank or card issuer.

Author’s Note:

Barq.pk, Pakistan’s fastest growing website has introduced online payment through credit and debit cards of any bank to give customers a secure, reliable, and no-touch-method payment option. Now our valued customers can buy favorite products online on our website and pay through their bank card i.e. visa or MasterCard of any bank from anywhere. For more information, you can click on the provided link: https://barq.pk/step-to-step-guide-for-paying-through-bank-card-on-barq-mall/

About the author

Zahid Malik

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