You’re scrolling through your Facebook account and you see an ADVT for a product you’ve wanted for quite some time but couldn’t afford. This ad, however, has an amazing discount. You’re attracted and you click on the link, you’re redirected to a site that is very similar to the e-commerce giants you’ve used before, you enter the required details and click buy.
A few days later, there is no sign of the product and you can’t find the site again and you realize they’ve already taken your money. If this seems familiar to you, you’ve been a victim of phishing. If not, then read ahead to protect yourself from such scams.
What is phishing? Phishing is a cybercrime in which a target or targets are contacted by email, telephone, or text message by someone posing as a legitimate institution to lure individuals into providing sensitive data such as personally identifiable information, banking, and credit card details and passwords.
Everyone is a target of phishing regardless of their circumstances. Such scams are often run through text messages, personalized ads on social media platforms, especially on Facebook which has major traffic, this makes them easy targets. By luring them with lucrative offers and asking for sensitive details.
So what can you do to protect yourself from such scams? Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Go to the domain yourself rather than clicking on the redirection link. Enter the offer details into the search bar and you’ll easily know if it is legitimate or not. Oftentimes, even clicking on these links can give the hackers an in to your phone’s details.
- Trust your gut. If a site you enter feels off or fishy, exit immediately. Likewise, if an offer feels too good to be true, it probably is, again, leave the site immediately.
- Whenever clicking on redirected links, keep an eye out for small changes on the domain name. For example, it could be “.co” instead of “.in”, “Mantra” instead of “Myntra”. There is always a one or two-letter difference in fake sites.
- Similarly, watch for typographical errors. No official/verified sites ever have spelling mistakes.
- Run a Google search on any offer you see via ads or messages. One search can mean the difference between you getting scammed.
- Watch out for spam emails that ask for personal details.
- If you’re asked to make an immediate decision because it’s “a limited time offer only”, make the decision to leave. You’re not being given enough time to make an informed decision.
- Be wary of any free trials of sites you have no information on.
- Always use a secure network. Use your home Wifi or your phone network, using public networks make you more prone to being robbed of personal details.
- If you’re redirected to an e-commerce site you’ve used before but they ask for your details again, it’s a fake. Shopping sites you frequently have your necessary information saved for your ease of use.
It would be an understatement to say that e-commerce sites have changed the way we shop. It came in and it swept us off in its ease of use. Whatever you might ever need you can find it in just a few clicks. You can compare within seconds, see feedback from other users, and make the best choice for yourself.
with the arrival of festive sale days like Amazon’s prime days and the Great Indian festival; Flipkart’s Big Billion Days, bigger discounts allow for more shopping and buying your favorite products at a lower cost. It has been bliss to say the least. But all pros have their cons, in this case, it is phishing scams.
Especially since the pandemic, e-commerce sites are frequented for multitudes of things, even more so during festival season. This makes these sites the biggest targets for scams.
A recent breach in the cloud service Magento, whose primary audience is e-commerce sites, was a close call with a data leak. Therefore, it is best that everyone treads carefully while shopping online. And keep in mind that hackers are just as excited for the festive season sales as you are.
Please let us know how do you find this article useful and how the similar ADVTS appears on the social media platform is yet another subject which we will discuss in the next article…