TrainACE - IT and Cybersecurity Training Blog

Four Ways to Avoid Online Shopping Scams This Holiday Season

[fa icon="calendar"] Dec 13, 2023 11:11:43 AM / by Kamilah Wright


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Avoiding online shopping scams is crucial, especially during the holiday season when online shopping activity is high. It's important that you have safe access to order our gifts and personal items. Here are four ways to help you evade online shopping attacks to keep you vigilant and protected.


1. Shop from reputable, secure websites

When shopping online, it's important to consider the reputation of the website you're buying from to ensure a safe and satisfactory experience. Reputable websites offer several advantages such as secure payment methods, reliable shipping, and quality products. 

By purchasing from well-known and trusted online retailers, you can rest assured that your personal and financial information is protected and that you will receive genuine and high-quality products. 

Follow these simple rules to avoid untrustworthy websites:

  • Prioritize Reputable Websites: Choose well-known and trusted online retailers for a positive and secure shopping experience.
  • Check for Secure Connections: Ensure the website URL begins with "https://" indicating a secure connection for safe browsing.
  • Avoid Unsecured Websites: Steer clear of websites with just "http://" in their URL, as they may lack adequate security measures.
  • Safeguard Against Scams: Shopping on reputable sites reduces the risk of encountering online scams and fraudulent activities.
  • Protect Personal and Financial Information: Trusted websites are less likely to engage in practices that could jeopardize your sensitive information.


2. Be Cautious of Email Offers

Being cautious with email offers while online shopping is extremely important because email is a common medium that scammers use to target individuals with phishing attempts, fraudulent schemes, and other scams. They can use techniques to make emails appear to be coming from legitimate sources. This includes using logos, formatting, and language that mimic those of trusted companies. Always verify the legitimacy of an email before taking any action.

 Be wary of unsolicited emails offering incredible deals. Be careful while opening emails, as they may include links or attachments that could potentially download malware onto your device. This malware could compromise your personal information, such as login credentials or financial details. It is recommended that you refrain from clicking on any links included in emails, particularly if they appear suspicious or questionable. This is to avoid potential risks or threats to your online security and privacy. Instead, go directly to the retailer's official website.


3. Use secure payment methods

Using secure payment methods when shopping online helps protect your financial information and ensures a safe and trustworthy online shopping experience. It is important to use secure payment methods such as credit cards and reputable online payment platforms when making online transactions. These methods use encryption and other security measures to protect your financial information. This reduces the chances of cybercriminals intercepting your credit card or bank account information.

 Using secure payment methods also helps prevent direct access to your bank account. If you use a credit card or online payment service, you can keep your primary bank account details more secure. Avoid wire transfers or prepaid cards, as they offer less recourse in case of fraud.

 Credit card companies and online payment services typically have established procedures for handling disputes. If there is an issue with a purchase, these platforms can assist in mediating and resolving the problem.


4. Check for Reviews

Checking reviews when you shop online is a smart and informed consumer practice with several benefits. Reviews from other customers provide insights into the actual quality and performance of a company and its products. Reviews can also give you an idea of the reliability and reputation of the online seller or retailer. 


Utilizing Online Reviews for Smart Shopping:

    • Gain Product Insights: Reviews from other customers shed light on the real quality and performance of products.
    • Assess Seller Reliability: Customer feedback helps gauge the reliability and reputation of online sellers or retailers.

Identifying Reliable Sellers:

    • Positive Review Patterns: Consistently good reviews suggest a likelihood of a satisfactory shopping experience and quality seller.
    • Verify Product Descriptions: Reviews can confirm or contradict the accuracy of the seller's product descriptions.
    • Red Flag Detection: Discrepancies in seller claims versus customer experiences may indicate potential issues.

Understanding Customer Service Quality:

    • Customer Comments: Reviews often include experiences with the retailer's customer service.
    • Service Responsiveness and Helpfulness: These factors are crucial to consider for a smooth purchasing process.

Making Informed Decisions Based on Reviews:

    • Seeking Consensus: Don't rely on isolated opinions; look for patterns in reviews for a comprehensive understanding.
    • Gathering Multiple Perspectives: This approach offers a well-rounded view, aiding in more informed purchasing choices and scam avoidance.


But is it safe to shop online?

In summary, yes, online shopping can be fun, convenient and safe, as long as you follow a few straightforward principles:

      • Shop from reputable sources.
      • Be cautious of dubious email offers.
      • Use secure payment methods.
      • Always check reviews to minimize the risk of scams.

Follow these, and you should have a great experience and reap the benefits of wider choice, better prices and fast at home delivery.


Learn much more about online security and avoiding scams

When it comes to protecting yourself online, there are several helpful tips you can follow. However, scammers and hackers are always coming up with new tactics to invade your privacy and steal your information. If you're interested in learning more about how to guard against online scams, check out our Security+ training classes. This program covers all aspects of cybersecurity and will equip you with the knowledge to keep your information safe.

Our CompTIA Security+ class is an instructor-led course that prepares you for the highly desirable Security+ certification. It's the perfect gateway to building a rewarding career in cybersecurity.

Topics: Security+, online shopping

Kamilah Wright

Written by Kamilah Wright

Kamilah Yasmin is the Marketing Assistant at TrainACE in Greenbelt, MD. With an education in creative writing and digital marketing & storytelling, she has a plethora of domestic and international experience writing and growing brands on digital platforms. When Kamilah isn’t online, you can find her enjoying speculative fiction, prepping an infused meal, or at the theater catching a show.

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