Shopping on the Internet is dangerous, thieves use sophisticated methods to hunt for your data. If you follow five tips when shopping online, you reduce the risk of falling into the trap of hackers. If you fell for it, you have to act.

Internet scammers’ techniques are constantly evolving. Since no physical card is required for online shopping, hackers often have an easy time cracking supposedly secure provider sites and stealing your personal data such as your date of birth or address and even account details. These are then sold by the thieves on the dark web and shared with others.

There are different methods: scams and fraudulent transactions. A scam involves tricking the victim into voluntarily sending real-time payments to scammers, often posing as close contacts or friends of friends. People lose ten times as much money as they do through online fraud. The latter is data theft. But you are not helpless in the face of the machinations. The neobank Revolut knows how to shop safely on the Internet without disclosing your data to strangers.

1. Do not open payment links leading to websites outside the official platform

In the context of an online purchase, for example, masked links lead to a fake website via an external payment link, where you are asked to enter your data. If you do this, scammers have an easy time. Tip: If you hover over a link with your cursor, you will see the target address of the link in the lower left corner of your browser. On your mobile phone, simply press and hold a link and a window with information about it will open. From this you can see where you are being taken: Is it a trustworthy web address or a fake site?

2. Recognize fake shops or bogus e-commerce websites based on a few characteristics

A first indication of a credible online shop is the padlock symbol next to the web address (URL). This signals the security of the website with a digital certificate. The designation HTTPS (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure) is an indicator of trustworthiness. Also take a close look at the logo and compare it with the original if you are unsure.

For your security when shopping, banks offer virtual disposable cards that are only used for one online transaction and then destroyed to prevent theft of personal data. And the 3D Secure security protocol is also used to verify online transactions.

3. Do not share sensitive information via email

Never email information such as passwords, PINs, bank details, or credit card numbers to anyone else. Furthermore, a password that is as secure as possible is to be used, which is changed from time to time, and a separate password should be chosen for each user account. You should also regularly delete unused apps or online profiles. Multi-factor authentication is recommended to strengthen account security. Two-factor authentication has been mandatory for online purchases since the beginning of 2022.

4. Quickly spot fraudulent emails (phishing), text messages (smishing), or phone calls (vishing).

For example, being advised that there is a problem with payment information, account information, or personal or financial information that needs to be verified is often an indication of fraudulent activity. Even if unsolicited vouchers are offered or you are forwarded to an external payment link, you should be careful.

For such cases, Revolut offers in-app prompts, for example, which are activated with every payment and thus ensure that the payee is trustworthy.

5. Avoid direct contact outside the platform

Victims are often manipulated into sending real-time payments to scammers. They are personally contacted by someone posing as a well-known person, their own bank, the tax authority or even the police in order to get money or personal data. So be careful if you are directly asked to make a payment that is supposed to take place outside the online platform.

Most banks use an anti-fraud system with machine learning algorithms that can detect suspicious transactions in real time. As soon as the system detects any dubious activity, the customer is notified immediately and the card is blocked within seconds. In any case, block your accounts and cards immediately and report them to the police. Next, report the fraud to your own bank to reverse unauthorized debits and report the identity theft to Schufa and other authorities. With some banks it is possible to block the card directly in the banking app or on the website, contact customer service and, if necessary, apply for a new card.

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