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November 30, 2022

Internet shopping fraud and how to avoid it

Internet shopping fraud and how to avoid it

Internet shopping fraud: How it works and what you should do to avoid it


The online market is studied by entrepreneurs from all over the world and also by fraudsters and cybercriminals who are looking for any opportunity to take advantage. Learn in this article how to avoid it.


Nowadays, cases of fraud in Internet purchases have become more common, especially in Latin America as a result of the pandemic.

The online market is studied by entrepreneurs from all over the world and also by fraudsters and cybercriminals who are looking for any opportunity to take advantage.

Learning about the most common fraudulent activities in online shopping and how to avoid them, can make the difference between being or not being a victim of this.


what is & how does online shopping fraud works?

When we talk about fraud in Internet purchases, we generally refer to the times in which a company does not comply with the service offered once it has been paid or when it performs a malicious and harmful action for the client in order to benefit.

The purchase becomes a fraud when the merchandise of the promised quality is not received, in the complete state offered or it is simply not received. However, it can also be the business that is the victim of fraud due to a malicious customer who made a chargeback.

It can also be classified as fraud when the e-commerce bills more than the amount previously established in the product or service.

Buy in person at a physical store, you do not run certain risks that are common in online stores; but, online shopping is an extremely useful activity today, so it will continue to grow and become popular.


4 fraud types on online shopping

Internet shopping fraud can be carried out in a variety of ways, often involving the involvement of a real or fake merchant, but it can also be a “surprise fraud”, which the victim finds out about when it is done and without them having participated in an online purchase.

Similarly, an online store is the ideal medium for many cybercriminals who seek to defraud people. For this reason, it is necessary to know the ways in which these fraudsters usually operate and thus identify them.

Below we will see the 4 main frauds that a customer can suffer when buying online + 1 that only affects electronic stores:


therft of personal information

Although the theft of personal information or data theft does not usually take place within a real and secure electronic commerce, it is classified as Internet shopping fraud. This is because the information stolen by other means can be used by the fraudster to buy real products online (known as triangulation fraud).

In addition, the fraudsters have other techniques to get the private data:

  • Through well-known emails
  • False advertising
  • Urgent messages
  • Required forms
  • Unreal offers and discounts
  • False websites.

Whatever the form, private information is often used for transactions, fake checks, real purchases in other digital stores, and even blackmailing the owner of the information.

In some cases, the stolen information is even sold or openly disclosed in the Deep Web or other similar means.


Fraud through fake e-commerces

Another form of fraud in Internet purchases are fake or imitation stores. In general, these are websites that are very similar to real and well-known online stores.

There, fraudsters request payment details to later use them in one of the aforementioned criminal activities that include the theft of personal information.


Sometimes these copycat websites use logos, web architectures, slogans, and looks very similar to those of a real, trustworthy business to impersonate and prey on unsuspecting users in order to steal their money and information.


deliery of poor quality products or copies

The delivery of imitated products or in poor condition is a very common fraud, even in online stores recognized worldwide. It happens when the product that the customer receives is an imitation of the real product offered on the website or is of dubious quality.

Among the unsatisfactory products that the buyer may receive are the following:

  • Merchandise imitating the one originally offered
  • Used or manipulated merchandise
  • Expired merchandise
  • Second-hand product
  • Defective or damaged product

extra charges

There are times when businesses can add extra charges or charges that were not included in the details shown on the page or application.

There are even cases where a product can be charged twice or monthly charges can be made without prior notice to the customer. . These types of situations may not be malicious, but rather the product of a misunderstanding or confusion. For example, that the client did not see the price properly or that the page was not updated.


fraudulent chargebacks

Chargebacks are, in short, the action that an online buyer takes when requesting a refund from their issuing bank of a purchase made digitally. The reasons the user may have vary, for example:


  • do not recognize the transaction
  • did not consent to the transaction
  • did not obtain the product or service for which you paid
  • did obtain the requested product or service, but with a quality inferior to that promised

This type of fraud targets e-commerce businesses, and fraudsters often pose as regular customers. Chargeback fraud is an example of this and every day it becomes more common in the digital market, especially in Latin America.

A chargeback becomes fraudulent when the merchant involved did comply with the quality and agreements of the service or product offered, but the buyer still ask for a refund.

how to avoid online shopping frauds

To avoid the aforementioned frauds and many others, it is necessary to take preventive measures and be aware of any red flag that may occur when buying online, both for buyers and for electronic businesses.

Below we will see 7 tips to avoid and identify fraud related to online purchases:


double check the URLs

Although it seems like an almost unnecessary measure, verifying URLs is important. Many copycat websites differ from real stores by a few characters in the URL, so unsuspecting users overlook this detail and submit their data believing the website to be the real thing.


Review legal information

Companies and electronic businesses usually comply with the legal requirements of the country where they were created. When reviewing the legal information of the company, you should find all the information directly related to it.

All these laws provide some regulation to the activities of the page, its handling of information and the requirements that must be met to buy there. If the page lacks this information or is very limited, it may be a fraudulent page.


Pay attention to mistakes

Large companies are often careful about what is written on their website. Spelling is one of the factors in which particular attention is usually paid, since it can increase or decrease the confidence of readers in the site. On the other hand, fraudsters tend to overlook many details and make mistakes when setting up a website. false.

Therefore, you should pay attention to:


  • Spelling and grammatical errors
  • Very low quality or poorly edited images
  • Scarce and inconsistent information
  • Poor quality web architecture
  • Bugs on the web

do Not trust too low prices

The main objective of fraudulent sites that imitate e-commerce is to divert attention and entice users to buy something or provide their personal information. To do this, they usually put very low prices, exaggerated discounts and limited offers, all with the intention of hooking the customer and rushing the purchase.

Another method used by fraudulent online stores is to have all the products of the store at the same price. Therefore, you should be suspicious if the prices of the products are identical to each other.

It is also suspicious if the prices of all the products in the store are identical to those of another digital store or if, on the contrary, they are well below normal.


Check the payment methods

Some fraudulent pages use limited payment options, all of them for the convenience of the cybercriminal who tries to secure the theft of the money. Others try to request the money in the form of a transfer, which prevents the possible recovery of the lost money.


Among the fraudulent pages you can find some that, apparently, accept all forms of payment, but when the client is about to pay, all those secure forms do not work, leaving only the most vulnerable.

Therefore, we recommend you only enter data on pages with the URL in HTTPS so that the data is encrypted and secured. Most digitally certified sites will display the green padlock right next to the URL.

check opiniones of previous users

It is important that you review the opinions of the business, not only on the official page, but also on forums and third-party sites where real reviews are made (not sponsored) that can be trusted, always based on the previous experience of a client. real.


Employee another techniques of prevention & detection

In case you have an online business, it is preferable that you use fraud prevention methods, mainly. This is because merchants are not scammed by other merchants, but by fraudsters and malicious users.

Therefore, we strongly recommend that you be aware of previous fraud attack patterns and constantly analyze your database. Although this work is time consuming and requires great analytical skills, you can delegate it easily and efficiently.

This is the case of the fraud prevention and detection tool, a software specialized in the analysis of patterns in the database. With it you can considerably minimize the rate of fraud in your business quickly, efficiently and safely.

what do i do if i have already been scammed buying online?

Unfortunately, it will not always be possible to prevent online shopping fraud and therefore you need to know how to proceed in such a situation.

In most cases you will need to contact the merchant's customer service team and try solve the problem. On the other hand, if the transaction was completely fraudulent, it's best to contact your card issuing company or bank and report the problem to see if they can reverse the transaction.

Many times it will be possible to do so, which, as we said before, is known as a chargeback. However, it is less effective when using little-known or unreliable payment networks. On the other hand, if the fraud was based on data theft, it is best to change your passwords and private data to prevent unauthorized access.

In any case, it is best to contact the bank and report what happened, since they usually provide specific information to solve the problem according to the context and country.

atenttion to details can save your money

As we mentioned before, each of these details can be the key to stay away from online shopping fraud and protect our money and personal information.

Still, it will not always be a fraudulent store or purchase, but a cybercriminal or a hacker trying to steal our data from an advertisement, email, or text message. Therefore, it is extremely important that you pay attention to the details and do not give your personal information to just anyone. In addition, it is recommended that you carry out thorough research before making any purchase, both from the e-commerce where you will buy and from the product or service in question.

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