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Created on 07.02.2019 | Updated on 16.03.2020

Shopping securely online: how to protect yourself against Internet fraud

Shopping online has become a part of everyday life for many people: prices can be compared with just a few clicks, products are selected and paid for, and a short time later the purchase is delivered to your home. It’s both convenient and straightforward. E-commerce has become a billion dollar industry. Unfortunately, where there’s lots of money there are also fraudsters. With these tips you can protect yourself against financial losses and shop online with confidence.

Did you know? Switzerland likes to shop online: according to the The link will open in a new window Swiss Federal Statistical Office (in German), 75% of the Swiss population has bought something online at least once in the last three months. Compared with the rest of Europe, we even rank second in terms of how much we shop online. Besides reputable suppliers you’ll also find Internet fraudsters online. So how do you avoid becoming a victim of Internet fraud? We’ll show you three typical scam tactics and give you advice on how to protect yourself.

Disappointed with product quality once the parcel has arrived

At first glance, everything looks great – the nice outfit that you want to wear to a wedding was photographed professionally and it’s also really cheap. But there’s a nasty surprise: the quality of the purchased product isn’t what was advertised and leaves a lot to be desired when you try it on. What happens with clothes also applies to other products. The biggest disadvantage to online shopping is that you can’t look at, touch or try on the product: you have to rely on pictures and descriptions of the product.

This is why due caution is advised when shopping online. Fake shops entice people with fake products and that scratch on the back of the device hasn’t even been photographed for the online auction. Chinese online shops such as Wish or Aliexpress  are becoming even more popular but can lead to disappointment: sometimes the ordered products look different to what was shown on the pictures. Caution in terms of sizes is also advised when you’re ordering from abroad as a medium (M) in China could certainly be a extra small (XS) size in Switzerland. 

Our security tips

You didn’t order anything but you still get an invoice in your letter box: identity theft and order fraud.

Online orders on account are very popular in Switzerland: The link will open in a new window 77 % of customers prefer this payment method. And that’s exactly the problem. Even if the second scam tactic sounds like something out of a Hollywood action thriller: it is more real and commonplace than you might think. We’re talking about identity theft and order fraud. Most of the time a few pieces of personal data will do it: an e-mail address, name and maybe a date of birth is enough to be able to open a customer account and carry out the order on account on behalf of someone else. Fraudsters receive the parcels and pay nothing. You can call it identity theft if this kind of Internet fraud happens frequently.

Our security tips

  • Inform the trader: has an unjustified invoice dropped into your letter box even if you haven’t ordered anything? Don’t just pay the amount. Call the online shop or write to them to share your suspicions. It is also their responsibility to find the cause of the Internet fraud.
  • Handling your login data securely: don’t use the same password for different platforms and be aware of your computer/web browser displaying security alerts.

The order never arrives

You’ve ordered new speakers on the Internet and are looking forward to receiving your parcel. But the item never arrives. It’s a very frustrating problem as the cause is often unclear.

Parcel theft is currently very widespread: parcels may be stolen from your letter box or by your front door. Almost every day, one person will submit a report to the police in the city of Zurich due to theft of a parcel. But parcel theft is not always the issue. Fraudsters sometimes offer products they don’t actually have and then never send anything, particularly on online market places.

Our security tips

You too can shop carefree online

Don’t worry – shopping online should still be fun. You won’t always fall prey to Internet fraud. It’s always worth saving the documents that detail your purchases and transactions. Save the order confirmations and receipts on your computer as PDFs or take screenshots of the purchases.

Fraudsters are everywhere, even online. Buy from trustworthy online shops and select secure payment methods. We also recommend you follow these tips to protect yourself against attempted fraud.

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