Fraudsters are increasingly turning to the anonymity of the internet to rip-off unsuspecting consumers, but by following some simple precautions you can reduce your chances of becoming a victim.
In a recent publication the Fraud Advisory Panel offers up some simple guidelines to protecting yourself when shopping online.
Here are five of the most common types of scams:
- Fake websites: A website which either impersonates a genuine reputable online business or that pretends to be a legitimate business but is not. Both are set up with the sole purpose of defrauding unsuspecting shoppers
- Online auction scams: You may receive goods which are counterfeit or that differ significantly from the description and are of a lesser value. In some cases you may receive no goods at all. The seller may also try to persuade you to pay by means other than the preferred method of the auction website
- Weight loss or medicine scams: A website which offers for sale alternative slimming aids or medicines to cure obesity, cancer and other medical conditions. These products are rarely properly tested and can even be harmful
- Ticket scams: A website which offers for sale hard-to-get tickets to popular sports and music events. The tickets are either never received or are counterfeit
- Phishing emails: You receive an email purportedly from a legitimate and well-known online business, auction or payment provider (such as PayPal and WorldPay) which contains a link to a fake but credible-looking website where you are asked to update your personal and/or account information. Banks and other legitimate online businesses will not ask you to do this
Top tips to protecting yourself:
- Keep security software and firewalls up-to-date