TIPS FOR SECURE ONLINE SHOPPING

Kryptus alerts: Criminals exploit technology to act offline

Driven by the pandemic, e-commerce has taken a leap in the last two years, also changing the culture of many Brazilian consumers who, due to the confinement, started to shop online more and more and ended up incorporating this habit into their “new normal”. In addition to the convenience offered by e-commerce of buying and receiving any product at home and without the risk of crowds, the current health crisis has caused many consumers to reevaluate their priorities, dedicating more time to pleasurable activities instead of facing traffic jams and checkout queues.

On the other hand, with consumers becoming increasingly digital, e-commerce-related crimes are on the rise. Virtual threats such as phishing (stealing personal and banking data) and malware (malicious programs installed on devices), or even scams applied in the offline environment, go unnoticed by unwary or ill-informed buyers, who end up becoming criminals, main victims.

Kryptus’ specialists explain that secure behavior requires digital education, and remind us that, because of the pandemic, a large number of people are participating in the e-commerce and all the facilities offered by this modality – advantages that often hide the action of criminals, which use increasingly sophisticated artifices to attract their victims.

However, by adopting some basic steps, it is possible to shop online in a very secure way. Here are some  tips:

  • Secure shopping environment: Look on the shop’s website for seals such as “Secure Internet” and “Secure Site,” which certify that the company has adopted security measures to receive customer information. When completing a purchase, note if the internet browser displays a lock icon at the bottom or in the address bar. This symbol represents the use of SSL (Secure Socket Layer), an important security feature; 
  • The company’s reputation: it is important to research the reputation of the company before making a purchase. Many sites can help you recognize the shopkeeper’s honesty. It is also possible to investigate this in the virtual shop itself, checking whether it informs the company registration number, phone number, and physical address – if these data do not appear on the site, it is recommended not to proceed with the purchase; 
  • Price research: prices can vary greatly from one site to another, but very generous offers, even when advertised as promotions, can be signs of fraud. There are popular price comparison services that help consumers when searching for the best prices. In addition to comparing prices, these sites keep historical records of prices, which can be used to assess the veracity of an offer, and also serve to direct the user to the correct addresses of online stores; 
  • Messages with sales links: avoid clicking on sales links via SMS or messaging apps, this is one of the most commonly used ways for criminals to install malware on mobile devices or direct the user to websites that can request and steal personal and banking data. In the case of e-mails, before clicking on a link, carefully check the destination address that appears at the bottom of the browser when positioning the mouse arrow on the link – it is very common for criminals to register domains similar to their legitimate sites (for example, “amazzon.com” instead of “amazon.com”); 
  • Public networks and computers: never go shopping from public computers, as the operating system and antivirus may be outdated, enabling personal information to be stolen. Also avoid using open or public Wi-Fi networks to shop, as sensitive data can be intercepted; 
  • Computer or mobile device security: keep the operating system and antivirus service of your devices always updated. Avoid saving card data and passwords in websites and applications, especially banking apps, and add a second authentication layer to access them. Mobile phones should be for personal use, avoid lending them;
  • Payment: when typing or scanning a barcode or QR code to make a payment, make sure that the amount displayed on the screen is the same as the one being charged. Also, check that the bank code printed on the document corresponds to the institution that will receive the payment.
  • Receiving products: be careful when receiving delivery, especially in the name of a third party – check first if the person ordered something. Refuse to take a photo with the goods – fake delivery people ask for the victim’s name and a document number and ask them to take a selfie to ensure that they receive the product, and then use the photo and the person’s data to get loans from banks, etc.

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