The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a huge surge in online shopping, with people avoiding stepping out of their homes. With this accelerated e-commerce sales has come a stark increase in digital scams — scammers pretending to be legitimate sellers by using a fake website or a fake ad on a genuine retailer site or even by sending text messages and emails to trap unsuspecting customers. The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) regularly warns people against sharing personal details to anyone without proper verification.
Here are 7 ways you can protect yourself from online scams:
Security updates: Make sure your computers and mobile devices are updated with the latest software releases and patches. Having the most recent security update can prove to be the best defence against virus, malwares and other fishing attacks. Turn on automatic updates so you receive the newest fixes as soon as they become available.
Set strong passwords: Your passwords should be of at least eight characters in length. Using a mix of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters will make it difficult for scammers to break into your vault. Use two or multi-factor authentication for an extra layer of security.
Watch out for phishing scams: Do not click on random emails or links provided in text messages or open any attachments from sources you do not know. Report such messages to anti-cybercrime authorities.
Double-check deals that look too good to be true: Fraudulent websites or fake online shopping ads usually insist on immediate payment via a wire transfer or any other electronic funds transfer service. Do not pay until proper and detailed verification.
Check for the ‘s’ in ‘https’: Check whether the URL of the website is complete with ‘s’ at the end of ‘https://’, which means the website is safe and encrypted. Sometimes scammers mimic a genuine website but these sites do not contain the letter ‘s’.
Keep your personal information secure: Do not reveal your personal information, such as birthdays, addresses and names of family members, on social media. Hackers can use them to figure out your passwords or answer the security questions in the password reset tools.