The holiday shopping season is upon us, and that means a whole new set of risks for retail consumers. In this day and age, scammers are getting sneakier with sophisticated techniques to steal consumers’ personal information and money. With the Boxing Day Sales coming up, we wanted to share some tips on how you can shop safely online that you can also keep in mind all year round. Here are the most common scams you’ll encounter:


eCommerce fraud

There are several types of scams that are considered eCommerce fraud such as identity theft, account takeover fraud, and credit card fraud. You can shop more safely by following the tips we’ve provided below.


How consumers can protect themselves:

  • Pay using secure payment methods (credit/debit card – Visa, American or digital wallets – PayPal, Alipay, Apple Pay, WeChat Pay)
  • Be wary of sharing personal information and financial details online
  • Use strong passwords to protect accounts
  • Use 2FA where possible to secure access to accounts
  • Check your bank transactions frequently for anything suspicious (contact your bank if you find any unauthorised activity)


What retailers can do to protect consumers:

  • Offer secure payment methods
  • Use a reputable eCommerce platform
  • Get reliable verification software
  • Monitor for suspicious orders
  • Add limits to order quantities
  • Be more alert around peaking online shopping periods
  • Ensure Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standards compliance
  • Display policies on your website for customers to protect their accounts and information better
  • Block fraudsters through a blocklist
  • Invest in fraud prevention software




Email phishing and text message scams

Scam emails and text messages are unfamiliar to none. With the steep rise in phishing emails and texts, consumers should be more careful interacting with brand messages. Fraudsters are getting more clever and sneaky with their tactics, making their emails and texts look more legitimate. Here’s what you can do to avoid these scams.

How consumers can protect themselves:

  • Carefully inspect emails and text messages from brands
  • Be cautious of what links you click on
  • Go directly to the website to take action on what’s asked of you in emails or text messages


What retailers can do to protect consumers:

  • Work with digital brand protection partners to analyse and takedown fraudsters that are doing damage to your brand and harming your customers
  • Make your customers aware of potential scams and impersonators


Fake websites, apps, and counterfeit goods

Fake websites selling counterfeit goods and brand impersonation on apps are a threat to both retailers and consumers. These types of scams can result in scammers stealing your identity or money and you receiving fake goods (if you’re lucky even to get something at all).


How consumers can protect themselves:

  • Carefully examine the sites that you’re shopping from (look for giveaway signs that may show they’re fake)
  • Pay using a secure payment method (fake sites won’t have them)
  • Don’t fall for a deal that seems too good to be true


What retailers can do to protect consumers:

  • Work with a digital brand protection company to detect brand abuse threats and take them down (includes fake websites, deceitful affiliation, impersonation on mobile apps and social media)


Online auction frauds

Participating in online auctions can be very risky if you aren’t careful. Auctions offer the opportunity to get unusually good deals or buy exclusive products. However, because they are once-off, prices aren’t fixed, and anyone could auction off their goods, it can be easy to get scammed if you don’t research and know what you’re getting yourself into.


How consumers can protect themselves:

  • Choose to buy from reputable auction sites – do your research about the site, seller, and what you’re buying
  • Check that the auctioneer is registered
  • Find out how much the product you want to buy is worth and decide how much you would want to pay for it (ensure you check if there are additional fees, taxes, or shipping costs as well)
  • Ask for documents or receipts to verify authenticity if possible
  • Pay through a third-party payment gateway if possible
  • Look out for where you’re sending your payment to (the location of the product and payment should match up)
  • Read the terms and conditions of the sale, including the returns policy, and what you can do if you receive a faulty product
  • Seek out customer reviews if possible


What retailers can do to protect consumers:

  • Register themselves as an auctioneer and make that clearly visible to customers
  • Display auction terms clearly to potential buyers on the website


Learn more by contacting the digital protection professionals – FraudWatch

At FraudWatch, we protect businesses, its customers, and retail consumers from fraud. Our digital brand protection solutions safeguard against phishing attacks, social media impersonation, mobile application scams, and brand abuse. To learn more about how to protect yourself or your business online, speak to our specialists.