Shopping online? These hacks may come in handy

Do you shop online while your device is connected with a public wifi network or do you check the seller’s details first before making the e-payment? Upgrade yourself with such relevant information by reading the following writeup penned down by Sandeep Kamble, Founder & CTO, SecureLayer7.

E-commerce has become the lifeline of the masses during the lockdown and even as we slowly inch towards a new normal, e-commerce continues to be the preferred the medium of shopping. Such platforms allow consumers to shop from the secure the comfort of their homes and avail contactless payments and deliveries. However, as per data by Dynamic CISO, a single hacker group managed to break into nearly 570 e-commerce websites across 55 countries, including India in just three years and managed to steal over 1,84,000 credit card data, resulting in over USD 7 Million of payment frauds. Also, over 29 per cent of all the e-commerce website traffic comes with a malicious intent of cyber-attacks and reportedly, e-commerce frauds result in USD 660 thousand losses per hour. Over the last few years, India has been the second most popular country among hackers and cyber criminals and has witnessed a rise in online frauds, resulting in many online shoppers being cheated of their money.

Here are some tips to adhere to for a safe and secure online shopping experience this festive season:

1. Optimise your devise security:

When shopping online, ensure it is done using a personal device and that it has effective anti-virus/ malware protection. Apart from installing an anti-virus and malware protection, it is also important to run regular updates and keep checking for device performance.

2. Use secure internet connection:

Public wifi’s and open/insecure connections are an open invitation to cyber frauds and crimes. Use either a private secured wifi or a personal mobile hotspot network.

3. Shop from secure sites:

It is important to check if the e-commerce platform is on an HTTP or an HTTPS website when shopping online. HTTPS offers encrypted and secure transactions on the site and should be preferred over the HTTP ones.

4. Log out as a guest:

In case using a rare e-commerce platform or trying out a new one for the first time, it is advisable to log out as a guest, where one does not need to add personal details. This is also useful when shopping through public internet connections

5. Monitor bank account:

Once the purchase has been made, it is important to check the bank account details to ensure the amount paid is the amount debited. Also, regular check on the bank account details can help spot fraudulent transactions

6. Create unique passwords:

If the site requires to generate/create a new password, ensure it is a unique one. It is also important to not repeat passwords or duplicate the passwords of the email address or other frequented sites.

7. Know merchants and their reputation:

A little background check or reading the reviews of the merchant/sellers before buying the product, helps verify and understand the authenticity of the merchant.

8. Avoid additional Information:

E-commerce sites that request additional information i.e. more than what is needed to process the order and deliver, should be avoided. Common ploys are sites asking to register for loyalty cards or gift cards etc., and seeking additional information.

9. Always check the shipping price/ delivery details:

Shipping terms and conditions can sometimes be tricky and imply a third-party service provider who may or may not be of repute. Additionally, one should be varying if shipping charges cost double the actual amount of the product.

10. Beware of tall claims and deals:

When shopping online, especially during the festive season, be careful of deals that seem too good to be true or have special discounts that offer way too much discount, compared to the average market price for similar products.

While most of the above are important but simple security practices for shopping online, not many consumers are applying them. This has resulted in the rise of cyber frauds and caused heavy monitory losses to both, the web portal and the customers. As we step into an increasingly active world of virtual transactions, it is important for consumers to become aware and educate themselves about the wide range of potential threats and how to best avoid them. This, coupled with a strong legal framework for cybersecurity, these unwarranted and fraudulent interferences can be handled, to make India a truly robust digital superpower.

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