Shopping Online? Think Again. How to Avoid Identity Theft
Shopping Online? Think Again. How to Avoid Identity Theft

With the increase of online shopping during the pandemic, many people are at risk of account takeover from online scams. Many people on the internet have made sure to safeguard their personal information with credit monitoring to encourage alerts and ensure they don’t fall victim to scams. Thankfully, you can learn how to protect yourself from identity theft.

How Are Identities Stolen?

Identities are stolen by picking up someone’s personal information and using it to hack their account. An account takeover is when scammers gain access to a person’s financial account information, enabling them access to personal information and data.

The scammer can use this information to buy other financial products, running up potentially thousands in debt for the individual and ruining their credit scores. This type of identity theft can take individuals years to recover.

What Are Online Shopping Scams?

These scams are popular with the growth of eCommerce and online shopping. In account takeover scams, the scammer collects a user’s financial information when they enter it at the checkout for an online shopping webpage.

Little does the online shopper know that the entire page is fake. The products don’t exist and will never be shipped. A scammer has set up this website with the sole purpose of collecting credit card numbers or other payment platform information. The scammer is taking advantage of the trust that many have put into online shopping platforms in the modern era.

How Online Shoppers get Scammed

There are a few different ways that online shoppers get scammed, becoming victims of account takeover. An eCommerce site may be set up to look like any other eCommerce site, providing a range of specialty products.

Quite often, luxury brands are displayed on these websites at much lower prices, making the offer enticing for someone who otherwise would not buy. In these situations, abnormally low prices are the main indicator that there is a scam taking place. Quite often, when things are too good to be true, it’s because they definitely are.

How to Protect Your Identity Online

It can be difficult to protect yourself from identity theft. There are a few things that can be done to safeguard yourself and your personal information. With a few habits and some help from technology, you can continue to enjoy eCommerce online shopping.

  Be Sceptical

Many online shopping scams are perpetrated through social media. A user will be searching for something they are in the market for and then get targeted on social media for that exact product. If you see a name brand on social media that is fifty percent cheaper than what you see elsewhere, there is a good chance it is fraudulent. If something is too good to be true, it’s almost always a scam. You can also adjust your cookie settings so this is less likely to happen.

  Conduct Credit Monitoring

There are many services available online for credit monitoring, which is a useful way to protect yourself from identity theft. With these in place, you can get an alert when your personal information has been used to apply for credit or there is spending that is out of the ordinary. This way, in the event of an account takeover, you can act accordingly and rectify the situation. There are many platforms that enable this type of personal protection.

  Check Website Addresses

Get in the habit of checking the address of the website that you are on. Scammers devote a lot of time and effort to replicating websites of name brand online retailers and eCommerce websites. In order to protect yourself from identity theft, make sure to verify the URL of a website that you have clicked on, especially from ads in a search engine result or social media feed. It could be that you have been taken to a fraudulent site with the intention of stealing your personal information.

What to do if Your Identity is Stolen

Once you fall victim and your account information has been taken and a scammer has managed to use your personal information for their own benefit, it is best to act quickly. Most financial institutions are quick to act in these scenarios and they may be able to identify youwho the scammer is, or at least find a way to block them in the future. Follow these steps to ensure safety for your personal information.

  1. Notify the authorities. When claiming that someone has used your account fraudulently, many businesses will ask for a copy of a police report for their own records. The police will also be interested in finding the perpetrator.
  2. Notify your financial institutions. In some cases, you may need to cancel credit cards or have them reissued. Be sure to let any business that is affected know that your account information may have been tampered with.

Conclusion

Many of us enjoy the freedom of shopping on the internet. Online shopping and eCommerce is one of the biggest developments in recent times, largely on account of the pandemic. It is widely believed that online shopping will continue to expand. Everyone needs to exercise vigilance moving into the future to ensure that they are not the targets and victims of rising fraudulent activity.

Source

Emma Crabtree

Emma Crabtree

Providing our clients with first class service and helping our candidates take the next step in their career is what gets us out of bed every morning.

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