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Here’s How You Fraud-Proof Yourself When Shopping Online

Updated 12 Nov 2019 – By Contributor - iPrice Group Malaysia


The Internet has become an extension of our lives – from interacting with our peers on social media, obtaining an education to even seeking out romantic partners, we are for the most part, comfortable with performing our societal rituals on an online medium.

There is however, one aspect of life that doesn’t translate as well – and that is giving up our hard-earned money to someone on the other side of the world through a screen. So why exactly are some of us still apprehensive about the big bad world of online transactions?

A survey by Kaspersky & B2B international on consumer security risks revealed that 49% of participants worldwide still encountered feelings of vulnerability regarding online transactions, with 37% having admitted to terminating a financial operation midway due to lack of faith in the security of the transaction.

However, 42% expressed that they were more likely to utilise online payment solutions if they felt they were protected from cybersecurity threats. Overall, the largest cause of fear is financial fraud, with 62% of participants listing it down as their major concern.

With the rapid rise of e-commerce, payments via online channels such as credit cards and bank transfers are becoming a more popular payment method. But is it really secure? Good news is, while online frauds & threats are still out there, there are steps that online retailers and consumers can take to ensure we protect ourselves from any financial harm.

 

Key steps online retailers and consumers (a.k.a. you, the user) must take to protect ourselves

1. Only shop from secure sites

How do we know when we’re shopping on secure or insecure sites? That’s easy, look out for the URL link of the website where you’re shopping. The web address of secure sites begins with “https://”. Note that sites with the letter “s” in the http address is considered a secure site. Another easy way to know if you’re browsing securely is through features on web browsers like Google Chrome which displays the word “Secure” before the web address.

2. Save your transaction records

Electronic receipts, email confirmations and proof of payment documents can help keep track of payment history. They also stand as key pieces of evidence should there be any disputes between you and the vendor.

3. Protect your computer

Firewalls and updated antivirus software can protect your personal information from hackers and can prevent identity thieves from nicking your personal information.

4. Stay away from free Wi-Fi for private activities

Stay away from free Wi-Fi for private activities such as online shopping, banking or financial transactions. People can potentially access your data through public Wi-Fi internet connections.

 

On the other side of the coin, online merchants have an important role to play in ensuring that your personal & financial information is protected from fraudsters.

  1. Use trust signals: Logos and 'trust-marks' from external accreditors will provide shoppers with the assurance that it’s safe to shop on your site. Some common ones include PayPal, ipay88, Visa and Mastercard.
  2. Proper placement of 'trust-marks': Place these trust-marks in strategic and visible locations on your website to eliminate any doubts of online security
  3. Include an SSL button and privacy policy: With these on your website, it clearly states how you use information collected from consumers and how consumers’ information are protected.
  4. Establish a clear-cut refund policy: Giving shoppers the option to return products they’re dissatisfied of eases the fear of commitment.
  5. Associate yourself with e-commerce platforms: Make sure they're trusted and verified though, such as iPrice, to build further trust with your consumers.

In a recent study on the State of eCommerce in Southeast Asia, it was noted that a credit card is the most popular payment method provided by most online retailers in Malaysia and across Southeast Asia.

While credit card providers are working day and night to provide the best security features to you, there are steps we can make as well to ensure that we’re well protected.

1. SMS alerts

Set up an SMS alert every time a transaction is made on your credit card. You can choose & preset a threshold amount for the alerts too.

2. One-Time Password (OTP)

Set up a One-time Password (OTP) to be sent to the registered mobile phone for online transactions. This provides an additional layer of authentication during the transaction.

3. Threshold amount

Set a transaction limit with your bank so that anything above the set amount will not go through.

4. Credit Card Statement

Always check your credit card statement to look out for any suspicious or unknown transactions made. When in doubt, do give your credit card provider a call for clarification.

Most importantly, remember that you, the consumer is responsible to keep yourself from any financial fraud. Just be sure to maintain a healthy habit utilising the tips mentioned and you’ll be secure whenever you make any purchases online.

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