How to Avoid Online Scams

With the proliferation of online shops in recent years, it’s crucial to be mindful of certain factors to steer clear of scams. Continue reading to learn more about online scams and how to report them.

Opting for online shopping is a common choice nowadays due to its convenience in accessing a wide array of products and speedy delivery. Simply visit an online store, browse for desired items, make a payment via credit card, and await delivery to your doorstep or local post office. However, the surge in online shopping, for many years, has also resulted in an uptick in cyber attacks like fraudulent emails and advertisements aimed at pilfering personal and financial information. Hence, it’s essential to take precautions when making online purchases to avoid falling victim to scams.

How to Protect Yourself from Online Scammers

Below, you will find some factors that you have to consider when shopping online:

  • Make sure the website is secure

To find out if a website is secure, make sure that the browser shows a closed padlock symbol. This means that your navigation is protected and your data is not public. With https is even better.


  • Know who you’re dealing with

European Consumer Centres Network (ECC-Net) specifies that anyone can set up an online shop under almost any name. Confirm the online seller’s physical address and phone number in case you have questions or problems. And if you get an email or pop-up message that asks for your financial information while you’re browsing, don’t reply or follow the link. Legitimate companies don’t ask for information that way.

  • Read Opinions From Other Clients 

Another important aspect to consider when buying online is to read customer reviews. Generally, customers tend to rate sellers and comment on their experience with them. This will help you decide whether or not you can trust in the seller.

customer feedback user experience or client satisfaction opinion for product and services review rating or evaluation concept young adult people giving emoticon feedback such as stars thumbs up

  • Use Credit Cards for Stronger Consumer Protection

The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) specifies that if you are buying or selling something online, you should try not to deal in payments of cash or non-bank money transfers. If making a transfer try and make sure it is from one bank to another as this makes it easier to trace. A bank draft is safer than a cheque as drafts must be paid for upfront and there is less chance of them being forged or that they will bounce.

  • Check Your Bank Account Regularly for Suspicious Activity

It is important to regularly check on your bank accounts to verify that you are aware of all the transactions that have taken place. If you see any suspicious bank transactions, contact your bank immediately.

Don’t leave a lot of money in your current account: put it into savings, it’s better to protect it.

Your banker will never call you, so don’t give out your contact details by phone or e-mail. 

Further Recommendations

Many scammers take advantage of people’s vulnerability and anxiety. The Federal Trade Commission also provides these extra recommendations that you can apply in order to avoid getting scammed by phone, email or advertising:

  • Hang up the phone on pre-recorded automated calls. Do not press any numbers.
  • The recording might say that pressing a number will allow you to talk to a live operator or remove your number from the call list, but instead, it might generate more pre-recorded automated calls.
  • Check the information. Scammers, and sometimes people with good intentions, share information that has not been verified. Before passing on any message, contact reliable sources.
  • Don’t respond to emails or text messages regarding government checks. Anyone who tells you they can get you money now is a con artist.
  • Don’t click on links to sources you don’t know about. They could download viruses onto your computer or device.
  • When it comes to donations, either through charities or money collection sites, do a little research. Don’t let anyone rush you into donating. If someone wants you to donate with cash, through a gift card or a money transfer, don’t do it.

What to Do If You Get Scammed

If you think you have been the victim of fraudulent activity, you should report the matter to your local Garda station immediately.

It’s a fact that online shopping has increased in recent years. However, it is also true that scammers take advantage of the people who are most vulnerable and anxious, talk to the elderly members of your family. That is why it’s important to know what to do in order to avoid falling into their nets and getting scammed. What do you think about online scams? Do you have any other tips on how to avoid them? Let us know in the comments section!

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Lucía Ramírez
Lucía Ramírez

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