According to the authorities, at least 1,491 cases of e-commerce scams – involving about $1 million have been reported from January to September 2016, up from 1,336 cases compared to 2015. A majority of the victims had used online community marketplaces such as Carousell, Gumtree and Facebook for online purchases, and many of the reports involved purchases of tickets or mobile phones.
If you are an avid fan of online shopping, how can you shop safely online? Most of you may have heard about the trust seal but what is it and what does it do?
What is a trust seal?
A trust seal is an electronic commerce image or badge that is displayed on a website to indicate that the website's business has been shown to be trustworthy by the issuing organisation. This gives confidence to the customers and it gives them a peace of mind, knowing that it is safe to do business with them.
Trust seals are a way for online shoppers like you and me to be assured of the safety and security of the online service provider. To be granted the trust seal, online service providers will have to ensure that their websites are processing important and confidential information securely.
Without proper security and protection, the information can be used to subvert the shoppers' personal identity, financial accounts or even cause harm through hacking, viruses or other intervention related to data exchange such as denial of service.
What happens when you click on an e-commerce trust seal?
When you click on an e-commerce trust seal, a browser will display the company's website information as well as the validity period of the issued trust seal. Trust seals like VeriSign Trust Seal and McAfee SECURE™ indicate that the site has gone through daily security checks and malware scanning.
However fake trust seals exist. The one way to tell is to visit the issuing website to ascertain how genuine the issuer of the trust seal is. The widely known ones are easy to check online to avoid confusion as there should be a link from the logo. If there is no hyperlink, there is very little reason to afford any trust at all.
Looking for a shopping site which has trust seal is one step to having a peace of mind while you shop away. It is a simple step, yes, but it is a huge one too. Below, we list out some of the common good online shopping practices recommended by McAfee, that you can take the next time you're eyeing that dress online.
- Make sure you are on a legitimate site – Most consumers believe that larger, well-know sites are safer than the smaller ones. However, it is still best to check the legitimacy of a site each time you shop. Hackers can create fake sites which mimic the companies, so make sure you are on the legitimate website by reviewing its URL.
- Use a credit card instead of a debit card – If something goes wrong, credit card companies will usually reimburse you for fraudulent charges. However, if you use a debit card, the money will automatically be withdrawn from your account, and it will be much harder to recoup your losses.