The internet has changed the way we live, and one of the biggest changes is the way that we shop. Online shopping has, for the majority of people, become a part of their modern lives. It takes away all of that tiresome legwork, trekking from store to store in search of what you are looking for and trying to make price comparisons. 

Another advantage is the ease of having purchases delivered to your home. Shopping online also does away with the waste of time and sheer aggravation of driving around looking for costly parking spaces in towns and cities. In addition, when you shop online you get an unlimited range of products to check out, and there are some great deals to be had too. 

45% of people are scammed or know someone who was

But you need to take care. It’s not all sunshine and roses. There are some drawbacks too, and one of the biggest is the risk of being scammed. It’s not a small problem either. According to McAfee, the internet security specialists, 45% of online shoppers have either been scammed themselves or know someone who has. 

According to a recent survey on UK internet shoppers, the average lost by individuals was a staggering £725 per person. One rather unlucky online shopper lost a whopping £48,000 from their bank account.

The fact of the matter is that shopping online can be an absolute minefield. Cybercriminals are becoming increasingly sophisticated both in terms of technology and the ruses they make up. It’s happening all over the world; the UK, South Africa, the United State – everywhere.

There is one rule of thumb you should bear in mind if you are shopping online and that is; if it sounds too good to be true – it usually is.

Take care when using social media platforms

There are software programs available to help with trying to block online scams, but it really is down to the individual to become more aware of what could constitute a scam. There is plenty of online help that can help educate you to effectively spot potential scams. It’s all about knowing what to look for.

But remember that it is not just online shopping that can expose you to scams. Scammers are now also using social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

Phishing is like fishing

The single biggest threat comes through phishing. It’s no coincidence that phishing sounds like fishing. Precisely the same pronunciation but different spelling. The “ph” version is a new word recently created to describe a new type of cyber-crime. It is very apt because it is just the same as fishing with an “f.” Scammers dangle a baited hook and wait for someone to come along and bite.

Phishing scams all have one thing in common. They want private information. Information that will allow them to access your bank account. The golden rule with any online communication is to use the online help mentioned above to assist with spotting scams. 

Reporting any phishing scams, you come across

Phishing scams can look so realistic, so you must always be 100% sure of who sent the message. If the sender’s address doesn’t look quite right, it is probably fraudulent. But don’t just delete the message. Report it to the proper authority. Wherever you are in the world just search online for reporting phishing scams in whatever country you happen to be in. You will not only be helping to catch the fraudsters but you will also be helping to stop others from being hooked.