The German Trade Association (HDE) smells good business – this year’s Christmas sales are estimated at 121 billion euros. An upward correction is possible, especially since online trade has increased again: 5 out of 6 consumers buy their gifts exclusively online this pre-Christmas season. As a survey by ESET GmbH shows, sales have grown by 5.4 percentage points compared to 2020.
And while online retail continues to grow, brick-and-mortar retail is groaning and gasping, trying to stop the further loss of customers in favour of online shops with promotions and discounts with moderate success. However, when it comes to the aspect of security, stationary trade scores over online purchases: Because dangers lurk on the internet, online shoppers’ biggest fear is identity theft (32.4 per cent) and fraud by fake shops (31.6 per cent). Ratings and reports of other customers’ experiences are an important feature for over 60 per cent of those surveyed when making a purchase decision. The most popular end device for shopping is the desktop PC, which almost every third consumer uses for bargain hunting.
During the Christmas season, cybercriminals are in full swing. There is already a substantial increase in supposed shipping confirmations or emails from logistics service providers, which are intended to entice people to enter personal data or open attachments. Especially these weeks, consumers are increasingly seeking gifts and eagerly awaiting delivery. An increase in supposed bargains and fake shops is expected in the coming weeks. Especially on the marketplaces of large online retailers, interested parties should pay close attention, as scammers are always lurking here.
The greatest danger in online commerce: identity theft
Identity theft, in particular, entails unpleasant consequences: the theft and misuse of personal data can be used to conclude contracts and make purchases, among other things. If you become a victim of identity fraud, stress and much trouble are pre-programmed. In addition, it costs a lot of time and nerves to contain the misuse of one’s data. It is crucial to be suspicious of offers that seem too good. Otherwise, money and personal data are quickly gone.
Reviews from other users are the main purchase criterion
Reviews and testimonials from other customers are important criteria for a good two out of three consumers when making a purchase decision. This is followed by whether the connection to the shop is encrypted with HTTPS, whether there is an imprint or terms and conditions, where the seller is located or whether there are seals of approval and certificates, each of which accounts for around 35 per cent. Approximately 15 per cent of consumers needs to pay more attention to these features.
Three tips to avoid falling for cybercriminals:
- Fraudsters lurk in online marketplaces in particular, also on Amazon and Co. Often, the articles offered can only be ordered after prior contact by e-mail and cannot – as is usually the case – be placed directly in the shopping basket. Another indication that should immediately set alarm bells ringing: If the provider wants to leverage the payment methods offered by the platform operator. Fraudsters often lure customers with additional discounts when they pay in advance. Instead of the bargain you had hoped for, you are left with a financial loss.
- Beware of extraordinarily cheap offers: Is the price too good to be true? Then watch out! Typically, it is a fake product or a fake shop. If you are unsure, do some research on the internet to find out whether the supplier is reputable. Consumer advice centres can also help. A list of fraudulent shops can also be found here: www.scamadviser.com
- Check the shop more closely: Checking the online shop and the payment systems offered before buying helps prevent online rip-offs. Is there a secure connection to transmit the data in encrypted form? This can be recognised by the padlock and the abbreviation “HTTPS” in the address bar. In addition, the correct address of the online shop should be visible in the address bar. If not, hands off! It could be a fake of the original shop.