• Posted by CERC India
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Are you being duped while shopping online?

Don’t get lured by heavy discounts during the sales season

When e-commerce players like Amazon and Flipkart come up with sales, it is the time for
fraudsters to strike and make a quick buck. The reason: gullible online shoppers get lured by
discounts and cashback offers which makes them less vigilant. Described below are some
common ways customers are taken for a ride. Be vigilant and stay safe.

Feedback call after delpub_int-1ivery: A new scam has emerged in which you receive a call from someone pretending to be a customer care executive to ask you for feedback on a recent purchase made online. The call is made after the product has been delivered. Common targets of this scam are people who have bought high-value items like televisions or smartphones.

The executive will tell you that you have won an attractive gift (huge amount of cash or a car) in a lucky draw linked to the purchase. You will be asked to send a registration fee to process the gift.The caller will verify your address, order ID, name, and mobile number making you believe that the call is genuine. You may pay the fee online or via a mobile wallet exposing yourself to fraud.

Emails or messages offering deals: Beware of messages on WhatsApp or by SMS informing you about discounts as they may be phishing attempts.  Phishing is an attempt to obtain sensitive personal information by sending an email or a message, pretending to be from a reputable entity. For instance, a while ago, there was a message circulating on WhatsApp of a fake Amazon sale. The message claimed to offer 99% discount on products along with a ‘Shop Now’ link. Clicking on the link would have exposed people to fraud and enable the stealing of their personal information.

Similarly, beware of emails about festive deals. Do not click on any links. Instead, visit the e-commerce website and find out about offers.

Calls about special deals: During the sales season there is another common scam. You may get a call from someone pretending to be a sales executive offering huge discounts on products. You may be sent a link on our phone so that you can confirm the purchase and send a booking amount.

Coupon scam: Do not search for coupon codes on Google when you shop online. They are mostly fake and lure people to links that are part of a phishing attempt.

Fraudulent websites: Check the URL carefully before opening e-commerce websites. During the sales season, fake websites of Amazon or Flipkart pop up to defraud customers.

Fake products: To ensure you are not buying a fake or bootleg (illegally distributed) product, check the history of the seller and whether the product is genuine. Look for small details that will reveal that it is a fake.

Overcharging: This is another way online fraud is committed. The company puts additional charges in fine print which you may not notice.


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Check if the site is secure: Check the address bar and make sure the address has ‘https’ not ‘http’. The former indicates that any information you enter is encrypted and protected from misuse.

Check if the site is reliable: Run a background check on the online retail store and check buyer reviews. Bad grammar and misspelled words are red flags.

Check if the contact details are real:  All e-commerce firms have their contact details – email address, address and phone number on the ‘contact’ page on their site. Confirm the address to check if the company is genuine.

Never repeat a password: Don’t use the same password for several websites or services as if one is stolen, all your accounts will become vulnerable.

Pay attention to the web address: If you are redirected to an address from other landing pages, check if it is of the official retailer. If not, it’s a red flag.

Be wary of the offer is too good to be true: If the offers are incredibly good, you should watch out.


Sources: www.gadgetsnow.com,timesofindia.indiatimes.com, indiaforensic.com,www.globalsign.com

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