Online Security-Identity theft and Fraud
Data predicts that by the end of 2020, global ecommerce sales will reach $4.2 trillion and make up 16% of total retail sales. And these numbers are only predicted to go up as we continue into the ‘20s. More and more people are interested in the convenience of online shopping and are spending higher amounts. Unfortunately, the probabilities of becoming a victim of Internet fraud also are increasing.
Total identity fraud reached $16.9 billion (USD) in 2019 With over 270,000 reports, credit card fraud was the most common type of identity theft last year and more than doubled from 2017 to 2019. Complaints relating to online purchases or online shopping fraud raised by about 575% in the last 4 years. Remember you must file a complaint within two years from the date fraud, deficiency in service or defect in goods has arisen or detected.
While most reputable e-commerce websites, and online marketing companies have taken the necessary safety precautions to protect you, it never hurts to proceed cautiously. If you’re making a web purchase consider these easy steps:
1. Use only one card, I recommend a pre-paid debit card, (there are many, such as Greendot, AM-EX Serve, Bluebird, and many others), that you reserve for online purchases only. Transfer only enough money to that card to complete your purchases at that time. You may also consider a low limit credit card that you only use for this specific purpose.
2. Stay aware of unsolicited offers by sellers that you don’t know and trust. Scammers use email or text messages to fool you into giving up your personal information. They may try to steal your passwords, account numbers, or Social Security numbers. If they get that information, they might gain access to your email, bank, or other accounts. Scammers launch thousands of phishing attacks like these a day — and they’re often successful. The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center reported that folks lost $57 million to phishing schemes in one year. While the offer may be legitimate, spammers like to use these tactics to side-step reputable sites that provide consumer protection for online purchases.
3. Use only reputable websites that list Main corporate address or Local addresses, if applicable ,
Email address(es), Phone Number or numbers, if applicable, Chat, if applicable, Social media channels,
if applicable, Fax numbers, if applicable
4. Read all of the website’s policies carefully. Some websites reserve the right to sell/give your information to a third party. Check the policies to see if they allow an opportunity to “opt-out” of receiving emails and/or special offers from the company and/or third-party vendors, or for permission to share your personal information. Every email should have a opt-out option at the bottom.
5. Check for a lock symbol in the address bar at the top left, you can click on that lock and see if the certificate is valid, how many cookies are in use, and to set site settings of your choice. Also, don’t provide your personal information if the web site address doesn’t start with “https” (a sign that the location is employing a secure server). Look for SSL Certificates and Trust Logos from reputable sources, and check that they are valid. Any data you submit to these websites over a https connection will be securely encrypted with the strongest available algorithms. By choosing Sectigo SSL for instance, the owners of these websites have proven that customer security is their highest priority,and the SSL certificate used by this website carries a $50,000 warranty to further protect customer purchases.
6. Choose only verified sellers. Check to see if the vendor is a verified member of a reputable third party such as the Better Business Bureau, VeriSign, Guardian eCommerce, Paypal verified, ect. These third-party sites help to make sure online consumers are going to be protected when shopping or conducting e-commerce transactions.
7. Make sure the delivery date posted is semi-normal . If you have not purchased from the vendor on a regular basis, be wary of any Website that states the shipment will be 15 or more days. Delivery dates of 7-10 days are most common.
8. Keep a written record of all online transactions. Print out a hard copy of the transaction and keep it in a folder for future reference.
9. Be very careful of website offers that sound too good to be true. The Internet is cluttered with get rich quick schemes and scams… and false advertising claims. Investigate all claims thoroughly before proceeding. I like to start with https://www.urlvoid.com/ but, there are many other resources for checking if a website and it’s owners are legit.
10. If you don’t get what you paid for, and the vendor does not return your emails or calls, contact your payment processor and/or card company as many of them have protections in place, and contact your state’s Department of Consumer Affairs for further assistance.
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This post is a re-write of a article I wrote in the past, but I wanted to re-post until I create some new material
Be Blessed – Robert