How can you protect yourself from online shopping fraud? In recent years it’s become a bigger problem, and the number of victims keeps growing as e-commerce grows exponentially. The good news is you can take steps to help prevent it. Here are some helpful tips:

1. Don’t click on links in questionable emails

If you get an email from an unknown source, it’s important not to click on any links contained in the mail. The reason is it could be related to online shopping fraud. In many cases, it’s part of a phishing scam that might involve fake e-commerce sites that look like the original ones.

Not only that but it could also cause other problems such as identity theft. The scammers could steal your personal information then make fake purchases using fraudulent accounts they open in your name.

2. Pick strong passwords

Make sure that your online shopping accounts include strong passwords. It’s advisable to use a combination of upper/lower case characters, numbers, and symbols. As always it’s important to avoid using obvious passwords that would be easier for a scammer to guess after learning some basic information about you.

3. Watch out for suspicious sites

If you see a site that seems suspicious, there’s a good chance it could be related to online shopping fraud. Some of the signs include tons of pop-up windows, bad design, etc.

It’s better to go with well-known retailers instead of small e-commerce sites. It’s also better to go with well-known payment systems like PayPal and others. It will help to protect you not only when you visit retailers’ sites but also make payments for your products.

4. Ask for refunds

You have every right as a consumer to ask for refunds in the case the order arrives late, is damaged, or doesn’t arrive at all. If you have problems dealing with the online retailer about these issues, then contact your credit card company if you paid using plastic. They’ll be willing to help.

5. Shop using credit cards

If you’re going to make online purchases, it’s highly advisable to use credit cards instead of debit cards. One key reason is that debit cards contain actual money that’s contained in your checking account. Another major issue is that credit card companies tend to offer better security, which can help to avoid online shopping fraud.

6. Shop by mobile phone carefully

If you use your smartphone to shop it’s important to use caution to protect yourself from online shopping fraud. The good news is mobile phones make shopping easier. However, there are also issues such as fewer protections compared to PC/Mac.

If you’re going to use your phone to shop it’s important to only use the mobile apps of big retailers. The main benefit is that you often get the extra security that wouldn’t be available on smaller sites. You should avoid keying in your payment info on a handset.

These are some of the top online shopping fraud tips to protect yourself from the web-based scams.