There are countless ways online buyers can fall victim to scams, especially as online shopping becomes more prevalent. The market is open for transactions on various less secure online platforms, where a single wrong click can lead to significant losses.

Moreover, e-commerce received a boost during the COVID-19 pandemic. Like almost every online industry experiencing an increased user base, it has become a target for online fraudsters. E-commerce is particularly susceptible to scams precisely because it involves money exchanges.
However, with vigilance, the chances of falling for online scams can be drastically reduced. Here are some recommendations on what to pay attention to when engaging in online shopping:

  1. Ensure It's a Secure Source

  2. There are several ways to check if the website from which you are purchasing a product is secure. Firstly, make sure the website link starts with "https" rather than just "http." "Https" websites have a secure protocol to protect information compared to "http" (the 's' in "https" stands for "secure"). Such websites encrypt your data, ensuring it cannot be intercepted and read by hackers en route to the website's server where you are making the purchase. Most modern websites follow the "https" protocol, and most web browsers mark websites with only the "http" protocol as insecure.

However, "https" websites only ensure that no one else except you and the website's server can see and decrypt your data. This doesn't mean that a fraudster can't open a website with "https" and misuse your information.

Therefore, it's essential to further check the website's safety. If the website is filled with ads, especially pop-up ads, it's best to close it immediately. If you are still unsure about the website's safety, you can search for the website name on an online search engine along with the word "scam" to see what is being said about the specific website's security.

2. Watch Out for Typos and Illogical Grammar

Online scams often contain various typos and are generally poorly written, not adhering to the professional standards of trustworthy companies. While it might seem illogical that scams would be so easily "exposed," these errors are often intentional. The goal is to filter out potential "skeptics." Those who don't pay attention to mistakes in online shopping are the ones likely to fall for further traps in the scam.

Additionally, scammers sometimes pose as reputable companies but with minimal and almost unnoticeable changes in the company name. This allows scammers to avoid potential legal action, claiming they didn't impersonate falsely as their name is, in fact, different from the large company they are imitating.

3. Beware of Sellers Insisting on Non-Card Payments, Encouraging Cryptocurrency or Other Money Transfer Apps

While the decentralized world of cryptocurrencies may be exciting for many, its very decentralized nature makes it a perfect tool for online scams. Not only is tracking transactions much more challenging with cryptocurrency payments than through traditional banks, but there's also no recourse to get your money back, as some banks might offer in the case of a scam.

The safest method for online payments is always through online banking. Therefore, caution should be exercised when a seller insists on payment through another method, such as an unfamiliar money transfer app.

4. Delivery Message Scams

The world of e-commerce scams doesn't end once you've successfully and securely purchased a product. You may receive a fake delivery message, prompting you to click a link to pay customs or another fee, ultimately stealing your banking information. It's wise to verify if the official web address matches the one provided in the message.

5. Scammers Aim to Evoke a Sense of Urgency

Playing on the buyer's emotions is one of the key tactics of online scammers. Specifically, if you're induced to feel stress and urgency, you're more likely to make an irrational decision. Therefore, scam ads often include messages like "buy this product in the next 30 minutes for an incredible discount before it's gone."

The goal of such messages is to push the buyer to act quickly and impulsively under the pressure of the supposed limited time for decision-making. So, if you find yourself feeling stressed about whether to buy something you didn't know you needed, ask yourself if you might be a target of emotional manipulation.

All these tips could be summed up in a simple way: count to three before buying a product online. Most scams aim to make buyers make quick and impulsive decisions. If you pause and critically assess whether any of the aforementioned suspicious elements are present in your online shopping experience, you can ensure your wallet stays safe.