More than ever, we lean on online purchases. Doing online purchases has proved to be more comfortable and simpler than going out (due to the pandemic). In a highly digitalize world such as ours, online and cashless purchases have become the cornerstone of e-commerce today.
However, online scams are on a dramatic rise since the lockdown has taken place. Fraudsters have stepped up their attempts to cheat us to do so at the safety of their homes. This makes it difficult to catch or trace them.
Phishing and spoofing are some of the most popular online scams. Both of their purposes are the same—to lure you to share your personal information, such as the details of your bank account. However it’s nice to know their distinction, because theoretically they’re not the same:
Phishing-Fraudsters persuade you to click on a connection by legitimate-looking or resounding texts, text messages, and phone calls to get your personal information.
Spoofing – Fraudsters trick you by using the persona of a reputable source (disguising themselves as a domain name, phone number, or email address) to get your information.
The key difference between these two scams is that phishing might require some form of spoofing to make the phishing attack look more valid.
To stop online scams like those listed above, it’s pretty simple—don’t trust anything you’re seeing or reading online. You need to be responsible with the texts, emails and phone calls you get.
Tips on how to prevent the following scams:
Identify the symptoms of phishing and spooling
Online scams typically induce terror or intrigue you in their communications such that you will take decisive action. These texts confuse you into believing that your account is locked or that you’ve won a raffle in a promotion.
To stop these scams, you must quickly recognize the red flags. Look out for the following emails, text messages, and phone calls:
Ask for your personal details, such as username, password, account number, card number, CVV code, PIN, birthday, etc (Banks would not request these details thru email)
Have a General Greeting, Misspelling, or Poor Grammar
Are received suddenly or not naturally
Link you to a different website (Possibly spoof or fake website)
Check if the website is legal and stable
First, confirm the validity of a website by its URL and text. A false website typically looks obsolete, uses old/altered icons, has grammatical and spelling errors, and much more.
It’s a smart idea to search the merchant’s actual website first to check the URL and its contents.
Second, check the URL of the site and see if it’s secured. The URL should start with https:// and not http:// (see screenshot below).
The “s” is particularly significant since it means that the web is safe and encrypted. In addition, there should also be a closed padlock icon next to the URL (before or after depending on the browser you are using).
Do not post your personal information
In order to protect your personal details from being entered on fake websites, you can not reveal your personal, financial or credit card information on unknown or suspicious websites. If a merchant or vendor wants to insist on your personal information, immediately withdraw from the transaction.
Secure the password
It’s important to keep your password private at all times. You’re not allowed to share this with other people easily, particularly online. Some hints for passwords:
Don’t pick a password that’s quickly guessed or one that’s highly connected (ex. cellphone number, date of birth, anniversary date, etc.)
Don’t write your password or store it on your hard drive, USB, smart phone or other non-secure gadgets.
May not have a key in your account in the view of someone else
Verify that the URL provided in the browser is right before entering your User ID and Password. It needs to have https:/in it
Using the new suggested web browser to have the most up-to-date security features available.
Modify the password from time to time
Change your password automatically if you believe it has been leaked to someone or when you suspect any unwanted entry.
Review your account and activity history on a daily basis
Check your transaction history records and statements on a daily basis to ensure that all details are updated and that your accounts do not contain any suspicious transactions. Take note of the last login date and time to search to see if the transfers have already taken place. If you see unusual activities or illegal entry, call the bank provider immediately.
Secure your computer and cell phone from viruses and malware.
Never visit untrusted websites or copy something from them. This untrusted websites typically bear viruses or malicious programs that can damage your device and mobile phones. Besides losing important records, viruses will run a password sniffing program in the background to catch keystrokes without your knowledge.
Be watchful all the time
You’re not going to trust anything you’re watching or reading online. That’s why it’s all right to be suspicious when you’re making online purchases. In fact, it is urged that you be suspicious and vigilant all the time. Often check everything you receive—from emails, text messages, and phone calls. It’s also worth asking a lot of questions, particularly if you’re working with an online seller.
If you already believe that your account might have been hacked, please contact your bank provider immediately to prevent further harm.