Ensuring the safety of online purchases: simple rules and recommendations

Ensuring the safety of online purchases: simple rules and recommendations

Every day the number of people wishing to purchase certain goods and services in online stores, marketplaces, message boards and other online platforms is growing. Buyers appreciated the convenience and speed of such a solution, in particular the ability to purchase necessary goods and services without leaving home. But, along with this, online shopping also poses a number of serious dangers for buyers. How many people today have already encountered the fact that they paid for an item, but never received it? How many customers have lost all their funds on their card when trying to purchase a particular product? How many people's personal data was freely available on the Internet as a result of an unverified transaction?

Unfortunately, the number of people affected by online shopping is also increasing. But most of all these dangers could be avoided if you understand exactly where you are at risk online and take a number of simple measures to prevent them. Now let’s look in more detail at what risks people expose themselves to during online shopping and what methods of ensuring security exist today. Using our recommendations, you can secure your online purchases. What exactly are we talking about and how to ensure data security and protection reputation on the Internet read further.

Let's get to know the problem

Online shopping — it is one of the integral elements of modern life. They allow customers to purchase the goods or services they need in a wide variety of modifications with tangible savings of time and money. In turn, suppliers of goods or services online find an impressive audience for selling their own products. But at the same time, both the first and the second are exposed to significant risks. There is a high likelihood that online shopping can cause significant harm to both buyers and sellers. The main dangers to which they are exposed include fraud, visiting unsafe networks and sites, loss of personal data, phishing, difficulties with refunds, lack of service after purchase, etc.

You can only resist all this if you understand what types of risks of online shopping are relevant today and where exactly they are hidden, and you also know how to counter them. We will now dwell on these two key aspects in more detail.

Main types of risks when purchasing online

Now let's take a closer look at the 5 main problems that modern online shoppers may face:

  1. Phishing and fraud.
  2. Connect to unsecured networks and sites.
  3. Problems with payment details.
  4. Weak protection of personal data.
  5. Difficulties with product returns and service obligations.

What is fraud and phishing when purchasing online

Phishing and fraud — These are some of the fairly common types of cybercrime, involving the theft of personal data or financial details of the parties to the transaction, mainly buyers. To benefit themselves, attackers can use different methods, in particular:

  1. Launch of malicious software or links, clicking on which will lead to infection of the user's device with malicious software. Thanks to this, the user’s smartphones or computers will be under the control of attackers. They can intercept data, encrypt it, and block work. Often, a ransom is demanded to restore stable operation. But depositing funds does not always guarantee the unblocking or elimination of these problems.
  2. Creating copied or fake resources, sending emails similar to real ones. Thus, potential buyers may receive a letter from a social network, bank, or online store asking them to confirm their identity or perform a series of seemingly harmless manipulations. But in the end, there is a high risk of completely losing personal funds.
  3. The use of so-called social engineering, which involves psychological influence on potential buyers in order to manipulate their actions. Unfortunately, offers such as winning the lottery or receiving some kind of third-party financial assistance always attract people. And here vigilance and common sense are instantly lost. Under the influence of attackers, even completely adequate people can provide important personal data or perform one or another operation that will lead to the leakage of information or money. Threats are also very often used, as an option for arrest, help for a relative, etc.

To make it more clear what we are talking about in this block, we will give an elementary example. Imagine that you receive a letter from your bank saying that your card has been blocked. And then you are asked to follow the link and perform a series of actions to unlock it. Among other things, you will need to provide your own PIN. We would like to draw your attention to the fact that such messages will never be sent by the banking structure. If your card is blocked for one reason or another, you will be asked to come to the bank and sort out the situation on the spot. You must understand that following a link, and even more so specifying a PIN code — This is the action that will transfer your personal data to scammers. You can be sure that in this case your money will be instantly transferred to another account.

To avoid phishing and fraud, you need to:

  • Exercise attention to any information that comes to you from unknown or suspicious sources. Never open files, emails from them, or click on the links provided. And under no circumstances provide personal data in response to requests or even demands from suspicious other sources.
  • Set up two-factor authentication for each card or account on the same social networks. The point is that when confirming a particular connection or operation, you indicate not only your login and password, but also an additional code that will be sent to you by email or to your smartphone in the form of an SMS message.
  • Check the originality and security of emails and Internet resources, to access which you need to enter your personal data. Thus, sites must provide a secure connection. It is organized via the HTTPS protocol. This will be indicated by the image of a closed padlock in front of the website URL. The URL itself must also be correct. And the site must also have SSL-certificate confirming his safety. If we talk about emails, they must contain the company logo, the content itself must be written in professional, literate language, and the sender’s address must be present.
  • If you still have any additional questions or suspicions, then a better solution would be to contact representatives of the same organization, be it an online store, a bank or any other institution in order to dispel doubts. Make it a rule to never trust information that comes from unverified and unofficial channels.

Working with unsafe networks and Internet resources

In this case, we are talking about networks and sites that are not able to provide the required level of protection for user data. These resources can be used by unscrupulous individuals to intercept your information, change user information, or simply steal it. In this case, the damage is relevant for both buyers and business representatives. Both personal and business accounts can be hacked, which will lead to the loss of personal data, as well as funds from the accounts.

Imagine a situation where you decide to order a product through an online store, but you do it not from home via your personal Internet, but somewhere in a cafe in a shopping center, using free Wi-Fi. You enter your personal data to place an order and bank details for payment. Well, what will happen if at this moment in time Wi-Fi is under the control of some attacker? Most likely, the payment will not go to the store’s account, but to the thief’s wallet. In addition, there is a risk that he uses the received data to make purchases on your behalf, or rather from your wallet. You may not even notice how an amount completely different from what you expected will be written off from your card.

To ensure a sufficiently high level of security in this case, use the following recommendations:

  1. Never use free public Wi-Fi networks. Your connection must be organized through secure channels, protected by encryption and a password.
  2. Connect only to secure sites. We already talked about this at the previous stage. In particular, they must have an SSL certificate, a valid URL, and a secure HTTPS connection.
  3. To hide your own traffic on the network, use mobile proxies. These are intermediary servers that will replace your real parameters with their own, in particular the IP-address and geolocation. Thanks to this, your real address is reliably hidden and the confidentiality and security of your Internet connection are ensured. An attacker will not be able to hack your device, since he will not know its IP.
  4. Install anti-virus software and a firewall on your device. This is what will prevent your smartphone or computer from getting malicious software that can encrypt your data or intercept it.

Risks when making payments

Similar problems may arise in cases where bank cards or other methods of paying for online purchases are used. These dangers include:

  • theft or leakage of the full card number, password, PIN code, CVV code for the purpose of subsequent fraud;
  • unauthorized debiting from accounts or cards, which is primarily due to dishonesty of sellers, trading platforms, or operational failures;
  • refusal to refund if the buyer receives a product that does not correspond to the description, if the product is out of stock, as well as for a number of related reasons;
  • blocking of accounts for your cards by the bank due to suspicious activity, including increasing the limits of financial transactions.

The most common example from this category — purchasing goods online with prepayment. It turns out that the buyer selects the product he needs, and the supplier asks for payment before shipping. The money is deposited, but the goods are never sent to the buyer. In this case, the seller simply disappears from view and does not answer calls or messages.

In order not to encounter such problems in practice, it is necessary to rely exclusively on safe methods of payment for goods. Those that would guarantee a refund if the buyer receives a low-quality product or if there are any problems with its delivery. Also, never leave your information in response to the seller’s requests and do not make financial transactions until you receive the product and make sure that it fully corresponds to your wishes and the description that was given on the site.

Also, every person who makes purchases on the Internet must constantly monitor the status of their bank account and check the financial transactions that were carried out on it. We cannot exclude the possibility that some of them were implemented without your consent or even participation. In this case, you should contact the bank as soon as possible and block the card. This way you can prevent third parties from wasting your money in the future.

To avoid falling for the tricks of criminals, check all the conditions of purchase as carefully and painstakingly as possible. You must directly find on the seller’s website all the information that may interest you, including about your own rights and guarantees. That is, you must understand that protection from any unlawful actions of third parties — This is primarily the task of the buyer himself. If you do not show caution and scrupulousness at the stage of making one or another online purchase, you will greatly increase your chances of becoming a victim of criminals and running into loss of money when making online purchases.

Insufficient attention to the protection of personal information

In this case, we are talking about the fact that a number of online stores do not pay due attention to organizing the protection of personal user data of their customers. Thus, card numbers, delivery addresses, email addresses, contact numbers, etc. may fall into the hands of criminals. As a result, thieves will receive information that can be used to identify the buyer, carry out fraudulent transactions on the network, carry out cyber attacks and commit other illegal actions.

As an example, we will give a situation that quite a few online shoppers have encountered in practice. Imagine a situation when you buy a particular product in an online store or marketplace. It seems to you that everything is in order, the transaction was successful, you received your order and you are completely satisfied with it. But literally a few days after making this purchase, you see that spam letters from certain companies offering to purchase their goods and services begin to arrive on your email or phone. The reason for this will be your recently made purchase, namely, the fact that the owner of the resource where you placed the order did not pay enough attention to ensuring your security when working online, which ultimately led to the loss of personal data, namely to its falling into third party hands .

To ensure the proper level of security when working with various Internet sites, use the following recommendations:

  1. Make purchases exclusively from reliable and trusted resources. Once again, we repeat that they must comply with a privacy policy that clearly states obligations to securely conceal and store customers’ personal information. Also, sites must take care of organizing a secure connection using the HTTPS protocol, and also have an SSL certificate.
  2. Create complex and different passwords when connecting to a particular site and never use the same combinations when working with the same social networks, instant messengers, email, bank cards, etc. If it happens that one of your accounts is compromised , then absolutely all personal pages will encounter problems.
  3. Never provide the seller or site owner with information that can be called particularly sensitive. We are talking about the card number and passport data, date of birth, identification number and other information if they are not directly related to the purchase.
  4. Make sure that caring about your reputation on the Internet is not an empty phrase. So, from time to time check your own data on specialized sites, delete or at least correct information about yourself that does not suit you. In addition, never give permission to unfamiliar resources to access your personal data.
  5. Use antivirus programs on personal computers and smartphones to counter various hacker attacks that involve sending malicious software to your device. One that can intercept personal data or encrypt it.

The emergence of problems related to the return of goods or service after making a purchase

In practice, there are often situations when a buyer receives his order and sees that it absolutely does not correspond to the description that was posted on the site. Moreover, it does not satisfy his requests and then the optimal solution would be to return the goods to the seller within the period prescribed in the Law on the Protection of Consumer Rights, in particular, within a 14-day period. But not everything always goes as smoothly as we would like. In particular, such problems may involve:

  • difficulties at the return stage or the impossibility of completing it due to the fact that the seller simply does not comply with the relevant rules or has not written them down in its policy;
  • payment of funds after returning the goods takes a very long time, or the seller completely refuses to send you the money back: indicates the seller’s dishonesty;
  • poor quality or insufficient service of the product after its purchase, untimely fulfillment of warranty obligations, lack of support in resolving disputes, etc.

If we give an example of how we did it in each of the cases described above, let’s assume that you purchased a refrigerator, and after six months of use it broke down. You contact the service center for warranty repairs, since the seller claimed that he gives a two-year warranty for your model. But, as it turned out in practice, the problem in your refrigerator is hidden in the compressor, and its warranty is only 3 months. As a result, you pay out of your own pocket for repairs that cost half of this same refrigerator. That is, there is a guarantee, but in fact it does not apply to everything. And you lost sight of this point, which led to unforeseen and quite serious unexpected material costs.

In this case, such problems can only be prevented by carefully studying all the conditions of purchase, delivery, and return of products. All this must be written down on the website, and not just announced by managers when placing an order. That is, you, as a buyer, must clearly understand all your rights and be confident in real guarantees.

It is also important to never throw away receipts and other documents confirming the purchase until the official warranty period has expired. If there is correspondence with the seller, then also save it for yourself. If necessary, you can use this file as evidence that you are right in the event of disputes. And also try to ask in as much detail as possible about all the details of the cooperation, as well as the goods themselves: materials, color solutions, methods of payment or delivery, etc.

And one more recommendation: leave reviews about your cooperation with this or that store. This is something that will allow other buyers to understand whether they should trust this supplier or whether it is better to turn to other companies. In the same way, you can rely on the reviews left by other customers.

Now we will give a number of additional recommendations that will help you make online purchases as safely as possible.

We ensure our own safety when making online purchases

This is the case when we can say that “Saving drowning people— the work of the drowning people themselves.” This means that you can minimize all possible risks when shopping online and ensure the safety of your own data and material assets if you follow a number of simple recommendations:

  1. We choose exclusively safe payment methods.
  2. We check the safety and reliability of the site before using it.
  3. We protect our own personal data.

Let's look at all these aspects in more detail.

We choose exclusively safe payment methods

Despite the fact that many sellers offer a wide range of payment methods for orders, not all of them will be safe in practice. Among them there may be those that are highly sensitive to fraudulent activities, which ultimately can cause leaks or outright theft of data. Therefore, it is important for you to navigate through the presented solutions and choose those that will ensure the protection of your personal data and all banking transactions, and guarantee a refund if you need it.

If we analyze all the payment methods that are presented on the market today, who are the safest:

  • Bank cards that implement the 3D Secure function. These include Verified by Visa solutions, as well as MasterCard SecureCode. In this case, we are talking about the fact that any confirmation of a transaction related to the transfer of funds will involve the introduction of an additional code. It will be sent to your phone or email as confirmation of the operation. And no third party will be able to access it. Thanks to this, a fairly high level of security is ensured against various unauthorized actions.
  • Intermediary services and electronic wallets. We are talking about using solutions such as Qiwi, PayPal, Yandex.Money. With their help, buyers will be able to not only transfer money from their accounts, but also store it here. In this case, you will not need to provide any personal details to either the seller or the resource. One of the most significant advantages of such a solution is that if you do not receive your product, if it turns out to be of poor quality, then you can get your money back even without the seller’s consent. That is, there is buyer protection here.
  • Cash on delivery. In this case, we are talking about paying for the goods only after receiving it. That is, you initially receive your order, check it, and if you are satisfied with everything, you make payment. But we would like to draw your attention to the fact that in this case, the return transfer of money to the seller will be carried out at your expense. The tariff here averages about 2% of the total figure. And this is clearly not the money for which it is worth risking much more serious sums.

That is, never perform transactions at the request of the seller. Do not transfer money until you are sure that you will receive the goods. Do not provide your own information on sites that cause you doubts. Always check the payment terms before making a purchase. That is, you must clearly understand how to carry out a financial transaction, and how to return your funds if necessary. Also make it a habit to monitor your card issuance. If any unauthorized actions are detected, immediately contact the bank and block the account or at least the card. By following these basic rules, you can significantly increase the security of your online purchases.

Checking the security and reliability of the site

If you don’t want to take risks, make purchases exclusively from proven and reliable online services. And here it is important to understand which of all the sites that exist on the Internet today can be classified in this category. Practice shows that fraudsters quite often create clone sites of well-known and well-established brands to deceive customers or steal their personal data. Therefore, be sure to check the security of the resource, its address and reputation before placing an order.

Your choice should be on sites that meet the following characteristics:

  1. Availability of reviews from other buyers. Here it is important to evaluate the number of positive reviews, as well as their ratio to negative ones.
  2. Having a secure HTTPS connection, an SSL certificate, and a correct URL. All this will indicate that the entire process of interaction between the user and the target resource is carried out exclusively through reliable encrypted communication channels. This means that even if attackers manage to intercept information, they will not be able to decrypt it and, therefore, use it.
  3. Privacy policy available. This is a document that, alas, the user audience rarely pays attention to. But it plays a very important role in the interaction between buyer and seller. It indicates how users’ personal data will be stored, what measures a particular resource is taking to prevent its theft, and whether protection is provided against transfer of data to third parties.

From practical recommendations, it is also worth adding a banal comparison of prices and characteristics of goods on a particular site. If you see that on one of the resources the price of the same product will be significantly lower than on others, do not rush to place an order. There is a high probability that this site is unreliable and thus the attackers are simply attracting your attention and encouraging you to interact, which could ultimately lead to the loss of a much larger amount of money.

We protect our own personal data

This is another key point that will greatly increase the security of your online purchases. The point is that you are concerned about the protection of your personal information before you send it to a particular seller. These are bank card numbers, your contact phone number, email delivery address and related data. If such information falls into the hands of third parties, you may become a target for blackmail, cyber attacks, or personal identification.

To prevent this from happening, you need to:

  • never indicate your passport details, date of birth and other important information on certain sites, especially if this is not provided for in the terms of purchase;
  • use complex passwords and do not repeat them on several sites, including social networks, email: if at least one of them is hacked, all the others may come under attack;
  • choose reliable anti-virus software for yourself and use it both on your phone and on your personal computer in order to prevent the entry of malicious software.

To summarize

The fact that any Internet activity, be it working with certain resources or making online purchases, requires the utmost attention and caution from the user — it is a fact. Unfortunately, today there are a huge number of risks on the Internet that users may be exposed to. This is also relevant for making online purchases. But you can ensure a sufficiently high level of safety and prevent serious consequences if you know where danger can come from and how to prevent it. This is exactly what we described in detail above. Compliance with these rules will require a minimum of time and effort from you, but you will significantly reduce your risks of encountering various threats when purchasing goods on the Internet, be it fraud, blackmail, hacking, theft, etc.

Along with the above tips, additional use of effective advanced technologies is also a good solution. In this case, we are talking about connecting to the work of mobile proxies, in particular from the MobileProxy.Space service. In this case, you will have at your disposal an intermediary server that will replace your IP-address and geolocation with its technical parameters, thereby ensuring confidentiality and security of your work on the Internet.

Follow the link https://mobileproxy.space/en/user.html?buyproxy to read the description in more detail , functions and capabilities of these mobile proxies, current tariffs, and also take advantage of a free two-hour test. If you have any additional questions, if you need advice and professional assistance, please contact the company’s technical support service, which works around the clock, without holidays or weekends.

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