Even since the early days of the internet people have seen the potential of being able to make purchases for just about anything from the comfort of their own homes. Online shopping means that you do not have to deal with traffic, crowds, or even having to transport your purchases. However, despite the benefits of online shopping, it carries its fair share of risks. Just as with any virtual service, online shopping is often targeted by hackers who want to steal personal data and money. Although these risks exist that does not mean that you should never do any shopping online, as long as you keep safety in mind and follow good practices then the risks can be greatly mitigated. There are three primary methods that hackers use in order to steal data from online shopping transactions.
The first of these is by phishing, which is the use of fraudulent websites or emails posing as legitimate ones. Common forms of this are when a cyber-criminal makes a fraudulent website that looks just like the legitimate version of an ecommerce website, and attempts to trick the user into making a purchase through this fraudulent site thereby inadvertently giving the cyber-criminal the users data when they attempt to complete the transaction. Additionally, when a cyber-criminal creates a fraudulent email designed to look like it is coming from a legitimate source, often asking the user to follow a link to a fraudulent website to “confirm some information about a purchase the user made,” although in reality this is just an attempt to get the user to give up their information to the cyber-criminal. The best way to prevent falling victim to this sort of scam is to stay cautious and pay close attention. When performing online shopping only use reputable vendors, and always check the address bar of the site that you are shopping on to make sure that it is what it should be. Additionally, always check the sender address of any emails you receive to ensure that they are actually coming from who they say they are, and if the email asks you to follow a link hover over the link and wait for the text box to appear showing you where the link actually leads to so you can determine if you should actually click on it.