Nothing beats retail therapy for giving you a reason to smile. This past year, especially, we’ve all needed the pick-me-up offered by a good shopping spree, a fact that led to a $41.54 billion increase in digital revenue from November-December last year alone.
For many, this shift is a cause for celebration, with the joys of shopping sprees now possible inside our own homes. But, as cybercrime also increases by an astounding 400%, this new shopping habit can have a sharp edge.
In fact, shopping on illegitimate sites can lead to both money losses and significant issues like identity theft. If this happens, you may well end up trying on the courtroom instead of your new dress. In extreme cases, difficult to prove identity theft may even see you having to defend yourself for someone else’s crimes with the help of teams like the lawyers at Whittel & Melton. That’s hardly what you had in mind when you put those trainers in your digital basket!
Luckily, while these risks are very much evolving, there are still some simple steps that you can take to protect yourself online. Most notably, you should turn away if you spot any of these red flags.
# 1 – No express checkout
Express checkout through secure sites such as Paypal or Google Pay aren’t a legal obligation, but the vast majority of legitimate sites now offer these options. After all, when paying in this way, the website in question never acquires your card details. As well as ensuring that a dodgy site can’t gain access to your accounts, this protects you should a website fall foul to the targeted business phishing attacks that have also come to the fore this past year.
# 2 – Unruly URLs
You should take time to check the URLs of every new ecommerce retailer that you find. Legitimate businesses URLs will always include HTTPS, and will most often display a straightforward brand name. You should always be wary of sites that display just a ‘HTTP’ tag, as this means they don’t enjoy the secure benefits of an SSL certificate. You should also avoid URLs that include brand names followed by strings of numbers, etc. as these are nearly always fraudulent.
# 3 – Non-existent contact details
Failing to look for contact details is a common mistake when shopping online, and has seen many fraudulent retailers making it impossible to reach a point of contact. Unfortunately, this inability to speak with someone on the floor means you can’t complain or send items back if they aren’t as advertised. By comparison, legitimate retailers will offer multiple contact options, including chatbots, phone numbers, email addresses and returns procedures. These should be clearly listed on their site, and you should always look for them before you press buy.
Online shopping opportunities are increasing, and it’s fantastic fun to get stuck in. But, looking out for these red flags is the best chance you have of making sure that it doesn’t all end in tears.