July 17, 2024

In our increasingly digital world, a new malfeasance is on the rise – online shopping scams. Crafty fraudsters deceive victims using realistic-looking emails and text messages. These usually appear to be from well-known retailers, often luring in potential victims with the promise of tempting discounts. Alarmingly, these emails typically contain links that bring users to phishing websites or trick them into revealing their private details.

Shopping frauds mainly revolve around schemes where shoppers order items which never get delivered. Alternatively, they may provide sensitive information which is subsequently used for illegal transactions or identity theft. Fraudsters use tactics such as false social media ads, trustworthy-looking phishing emails, or fake shipping notifications to trick victims into thinking they’re dealing with legitimate businesses.

Online shoppers need to tread with caution. Always verify the authenticity of advertised deals and messages before making purchases or giving out personal information. Being wary and skeptical is crucial to avoiding these increasingly advanced scams.



Consider the case of Raju. One day, he received a message from an unfamiliar number. The message advertised mobile phones at unbelievable prices. Intrigued, he clicked on the link and was stunned to see smartphones on offer for half their usual price. He thus decided to reach out to the contact on the website.

How Can You Evade Scams like This?

  • Always prefer secure websites for shopping. Look for a tiny lock icon or ‘https’ in the address bar during checkout to ensure that your transaction details are encrypted and safe.
  • If scammed, report the incident immediately to your local Cyber Crime Police and the National Cyber Crime Reporting Portal at https://cybercrime.gov.in.
  • Avoid shopping online from unknown websites.
  • Stay clear of online vendors who only accept payment methods like gift cards or money transfers – these are hard to trace and cannot be reversed, making them a hotbed for fraud.
  • Ideally, avoid making prepayments to unfamiliar websites – the chances of getting your product drop drastically once you’ve paid.
  • Reference: Raju & The Forty Thieves

    Frequently Asked Questions

    How can I verify if an online retailer is authentic?

    Always check if the website has ‘https’ in the URL, indicating that it is secure. Besides, look for reviews of the website and its products. Be cautious if the site is brand new, prices are extremely low, or if they ask for payment via unconventional methods.

    What to do if I fall for an online shopping scam?

    Immediately report to your bank or credit card provider to dispute the charges. Change your online passwords and inform the local Cyber Crime Police and the National Cyber Crime Reporting. Monitor your accounts for any suspicious activities.

    How can I safeguard my personal information while shopping online?

    Use secure Wi-Fi networks, not public ones. Update your devices often, install reliable security software, and never save your card details on websites. Regularly check your account statements for unauthorised transactions.