Reports of a RM2.4 million Internet fraud committed by five Nigerians , made headlines recently and have brought online safety in Malaysia to the spotlight. With the Internet being widely available and offering endless opportunities, it is easy to forget that the Web has become a new ground for scammers who target users from all walks of life.
Furthermore, recent MyCERT incident statistics for the first half of 2015 paint an alarming picture reveals that online scams are on the rise and show no signs of decline. For online shopping, scams often involve scammers pretending to be legitimate online sellers, either with a fake website or a fake ad on a genuine retailer site.
MyCERT, which is committed to reducing cybercrime in Malaysia, has already reported almost 6000 incidents in 2015 to date – an increase of 45 percent compared to the same period last year.
Online shopping made safe at 11street
Worrying statistics call for stringent safety measures to ensure Malaysians can make their online purchases risk-free. 11street, one of the biggest online marketplaces in Malaysia, has taken numerous steps to ensure safety of its customers with an ESCROW system being the most significant one.
“11street constantly strives to address e-shoppers’ concerns by implementing safety-boosting solutions. ESCROW system is a financial instrument of placing a buyer’s money on hold in control and releasing it to the seller only when the delivery of the purchased item is fulfilled, thus protecting buyers from frauds. 11street also takes extra effort and responsibility to penalise any sellers for non-delivery cases,” 11street’s Chief Executive Officer, Hoseok Kim said.
“Furthermore, we are Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) compliant and with our in-house security system, our website is strengthened with comprehensive capabilities to monitor all products and transactions between buyers and sellers, that allows us to focus on detecting suspicious activities such as counterfeit product listing to minimise online risks while facilitating secured online transactions.” Kim added.
In light of recent increasing incidents of cybercrimes, 11street developed basic guidelines for consumers to follow in order to stay safe online:
1. Choose only trustworthy online shopping sites
Reliable sites offer full information on sellers and customer service support reachable via email and phone. A credible site will also include features such as a return policy in case the buyer is unsatisfied with their purchase, along with a ‘help’ section for shoppers to lodge any complaints.
2. Use a secure connection when you place your order
Look for a lock symbol on the page and check if the web address starts with “https://”, rather than “http://”. This guarantees that encryption is being used and your sensitive information is protected.
3. Be cautious when making payment
Upfront payment is common for online transaction. Yet, legitimate sellers usually offer multiple secured payment methods via bank or credible payment gateway, including credit card payment and online bank transfer to company account rather than personal account.
A good practice to ensure that you are buying from legitimate sellers would be to look for their bank partners or multiple secured payment channels that are available when making a purchase. This further enhances the site’s credibility, as they would need to be qualified by banks or the authorities through stringent checks.
If a site has an ESCROW system in place to assure buyers with delivery, that is another plus point which indicates the credibility of the site.
4. Read reviews shared by other customers
Make an informed purchase and read comments from real customers. You can be sure you’ll find out a lot on their overall shopping experience and the quality of products. Have a closer look at negative reviews and the way they were handled by sellers, as this will give you some insights into their customer service.
5. Never click on links from spam emails to make purchases
It is never a good idea to click on a link in an email from someone you don’t know, let alone purchasing from a random website that sent you spam email. Remember to verify the seller before any purchase and never follow links from dubious sources.
6. Use strong passwords
If your password can be found on the list of 25 most popular passwords it requires an immediate change. Set passwords that are at least 10 characters long and consist of a combination of letters and numbers.
7. Don’t use public computers for online shopping
Even if you erase your browsing history and log out, your sensitive information may still be accessible to industrious thieves. It is not uncommon for them to install sophisticated software that records keystrokes and then emails that data to the thief on public computers.
Kim ends, “We believe security is the key to success in the online sphere. All sellers on 11street have been thoroughly vetted and we also flag up suspicious credit cards to banking authorities to ensure that our sellers don’t get tricked as well. In the same manner, customers make payments to bank accounts that have been registered with us. Yet, we advise all online shoppers to take these precautions to make sure their online shopping experience is enjoyable and safe”.