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.
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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.
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
- Is the price almost too cheap? Compare it with other offers. If there’s a large price difference, maybe something is wrong.
- Do you know the online shop? Research it well. Carefully read as many ratings as possible. Does something seem a bit suspicious? If you don’t have a good feeling about it, don’t go through with the purchase.
- Are the quality labels real? Don’t blindly trust the fancy labels. Check if the shop is listed with an official quality label (e.g. The link will open in a new window Swiss Mail Order Association (VSV), The link will open in a new window EHI, The link will open in a new window IPS, The link will open in a new window Trusted Shops, The link will open in a new window TÜV Süd etc.). Information can be faked quickly, easily and realistically.
- Protect yourself: if the product you’ve purchased does not match the description on the classified ad portal, you have the right to a replacement, repair or a price reduction at the expense of the seller (The link will open in a new window see ricardo.ch).
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
- Get it sent to a secure address: arrange for your parcel to be delivered to your workplace during work hours or to a The link will open in a new window My Post 24 terminal. Another option is to have your parcel sent to a The link will open in a new window PickPost point (e.g. in railway stations, kiosks etc.).
- Payment with buyer protection: when you buy things on online marketplaces from private individuals, look out for a secure payment method with buyer protection.
- Picture search: if you have the feeling that an offer on an online marketplace is too good to be true, do a picture search. With tools such as The link will open in a new window TinEye or The link will open in a new window Google picture search you can upload a picture and see if it has already been shared on the Internet. There are fraudsters who steal pictures from the Internet but don’t even have the product.
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.