While convenient, online shopping isn’t always safe. Web criminals are constantly searching for new ways to scam money online from victims.
- Learn to spot an online scam
Scam websites aren’t the only threat out there. Scams and phishing can also be sent to you in email, instant and SMS messages and via phone calls. Often scammers try to appear as a trustable party, like a known brand or authority. Online scammers are usually after your money. Personal details are also valuable to criminals.
Whenever a website urges you to act fast or it displays offers that are too good to be true, be on your guard. Treat any request for money sent by unknown parties as possible online scam. The same goes for asking for your personal details, like passwords or banking information. No trustworthy source will ever ask you for them.
- Check the URL – the address of the page
URL is the address of the page that starts with “https://www.”. Whenever you’re making a financial transaction, check the site’s URL. Make sure the connection is encrypted so that hackers can’t spy on your traffic. Check from the browser bar that the site starts with “https” instead of “http”. “Https” means the connection between you and the website is encrypted.
To be sure that a page is not a scam website, check the URL also for typos or any other suspicious elements. Fake websites can look very much like real web shops. The URL can be the only visible warning sign. If you don’t know the web shop, look for their contact information. If they don’t have any, that’s bad. You can also search for user reviews on the internet to figure out if the site is safe.
- Use an online payment service for safe online shopping
When you enter your credit card details online, you trust the site to protect your information. That’s why an online payment service like PayPal makes sense. Instead of giving your credit card details to multiple online shops, you give the information only to the payment service. The service then acts as a middleman between you and the seller without sharing your details. This way your valuable information can be stolen from fewer locations. You are also less likely to give scammers your payment information.
Online payment services also aim to verify buyers and sellers to protect both parties from online scams. You can look, for example, for Visa Secure and Mastercard Secure Code icons. However, they could be fake too and thus not necessarily a guarantee of security.
For safe online shopping it’s better to pay with online payment services and credit cards than it is with debit cards and money transfers. In case of fraud, it’s easier to get your money back that way.
- Keep an eye on your credit card and banking transactions
If your credit card information gets compromised, there can be charges without you knowing. Review your monthly statements to find any suspicious activity. Contact your bank immediately in case of anything unknown.
A good way to protect your money online is to restrict which countries your credit card will work in. Just remember to change the settings back when you need your card abroad.
- Use antivirus on your devices
Scam websites and spam emails can also infect your device with viruses. They can in turn record your passwords and banking credentials and use them to steal money from your bank account. To protect your money, use antivirus that blocks these viruses on your computer and mobile device. We recommend F-secure as an antivirus.
💡 Remember: Always use security software and make sure it has a banking protection feature.