What you need to know about scams during festive online sales, and how to avoid them
The festive season is already here and several big sales are attracting a huge customer base. However, these sales during the festive season also attract a large number of cybercriminals, who are known to prey on consumers shopping online during festivals.
In this informative yet alarming capsule, we will go through different types of online festive season sale related scams and uncover various ways to avoid getting duped.
Diversity in scams for variety of consumers
Over time, cybercriminals and scammers have started targeting people with festive season-specific content. This can vary from delivery-related scams to payment-related ones. Here, we will uncover the 5 most commonly used techniques by scammers.
Fake delivery notification scam
Online shopping or ordering means getting the products or services delivered to your doorstep. Now, the rise in home delivery has become a tool for cybercriminals and scammers to dupe people.
The fake delivery notification informs a consumer about awaiting delivery of a product, and to successfully receive the product, the consumer is asked to pay a marginal amount in advance. This attracts a consumer to click on a link and make the payment. Since it is a marginal amount, the consumer does not worry about payment. Eventually, this gives access to the consumer's account to the scammer.
Fake shopping sites and sellers
During the festive season, a rush sale is noticeable and the chances of your desired product going out of stock are also high. And when this happens, people get anxious and start looking for that product on different websites, giving a chance to such scammers. Consumers must be wary of fake websites, which look completely legitimate, but aren't.
Fake gift cards, vouchers and coupons
As per a study, gift cards and vouchers are quite often used for gifting in India. So, how does this work? You might have received a notification in your mail or messengers, offering a special gift voucher worth some money only for you.
Well, this technique usually requires you to click on the link, fill in some of your personal information, give access to some of the specifications on your phone or laptop, and make a small amount of payment towards the site and it's done. The moment you provide all this info, you are robbed of all your hard-earned money.
During festivals, people believe in giving to the needy, as there are several rituals that take place during these festivals. And with almost all services, like NGOs, SHGs, and other welfare organisations going online, the scam in their name is also pacing up.
Fake travel offers
During this time of the year, that is October-November when major Indian festivals are celebrated, travel goes up. This not just opens a window for people looking for a holiday, but also for travel scammers who send regular updates to working-class people with travel offers and vouchers.
These offers usually require you to pay some money and avail of the services. So, what's fake here? Well, if you pay attention, these offers are too good to be true, a hint for you to consider them bogus.
How to avoid such scams?
Starting from the very basic, the first step to avoiding such scams is to know how to spot them.
Being suspicious really helps, if you receive any such offers, first look out for its parent company, i.e., its source.
Double-check the URL of the site you are visiting. In order to do so, DO NOT click the link, check the website by manually typing the name on your search engine.
If you are visiting a site from which you have never ordered before, do a little research. Check the 'About' section of the website, check for how old the website is, and look out for some customer reviews.
Choose a payment method very carefully. There are some trusted partners that usually work in India. For instance, while shopping from Amazon India, you will be redirected towards the payment gateway of Razorpay or amazon pay. Some other reputed sites use, Mastercard, Paytm and more such payment gateways.
Set up alerts on your banking and other accounts. A simple firewall can prevent you from getting duped.
At last, make other people near you aware of such kinds of scams.