Don’t Let Scammers and Online Fraud Spoil Your Online Shopping Experience: 7 Safety Tips You Need to Know

Dr. Joseph Mtonga

CEO / Co-Founder

“Digital Transformation is a National Agenda. Everyone must Play their Part”





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Welcome, savvy shoppers! The thrill of finding that perfect item online, clicking ‘Add to Cart,’ and eagerly awaiting its arrival on our doorstep is undeniable. But in this digital age, where there are countless scammers lurking behind the screen, it’s crucial to arm ourselves with knowledge and protect our hard-earned money and avoid online fraud.

Fear not! We have compiled a comprehensive list of 7 safety tips that will ensure your online shopping experience remains blissful – free from online fraud scams and full of bargains. So grab a cup of coffee, sit back, and let us guide you through the virtual aisles with confidence. Don’t let those sneaky scammers spoil your fun – read on to discover how you can shop securely and outsmart online fraud in the vast realm of e-commerce today!

Introduction and Overview of Online Fraud

Online shopping is a convenient and popular way to purchase items, but it’s important to be aware of the potential risks. Online fraud scammers can create fake websites that look identical to legitimate ones, or they may send emails pretending to be from a legitimate company in an attempt to get your personal information. You might fall victim to online fraud if you take the bait.


What Are the Top Online Fraud Scams?

There are several types of online fraud scams that you should be aware of. The most common include:

1. Phishing online fraud scams: These occur when scammers send fake emails or texts purporting to be from a legitimate company, in an attempt to trick you into giving them your personal information. They may also direct you to a fake website that looks identical to the real one, in order to collect your login details.

2. Auction online fraud scams: Be wary of auction sites that seem too good to be true, as they may be selling counterfeit items or charging excessive shipping fees. It’s also important not to pay for an item using a wire transfer service, as these are often irreversible and you will have no recourse if the item never arrives.

3. Fake product online fraud scams: There are many websites selling fake or counterfeit products, often at deeply discounted prices. These products may not meet safety standards and could even be dangerous. In some cases, the scammer will take your money and never send the product at all.

4. Job offer online fraud scams: Be cautious of job offers that require you to pay a fee upfront, or that seem too good to be true. It’s also important not to provide any personal information or financial details until you have verified the legitimacy of the employer.

5. Travel booking online fraud scams: When booking travel arrangements online, be sure to use a reputable website or travel agency. Scammers may create fake websites that look identical to make unsuspecting users fall victim to online fraud.


Tips To Avoid Being Scammed

With the excitement that comes with eCommerce and online shopping, it is inevitable for some unsuspecting online users to fall prey to scammers and fraudsters. You should know that there is a thief or two out there trying to ruin your online shopping experience by scamming you out of your hard-earned cash. But with a few steps, you can avoid online fraud and make falling victim impossible.


1. Verify Seller Reputation to Avoid Online Fraud

When shopping online, it’s important to verify the reputation of the seller before making a purchase. There are a few things you can do to help ensure that you’re dealing with a reputable seller and avoid online fraud:

-Check online reviews: A quick Google search can reveal a lot about a seller’s reputation. Take some time to read through customer reviews before making a purchase.

-Do your research: If you’re not familiar with the seller, take some time to look them up online. Check out their website and social media accounts to get an idea of who they are and what they’re all about.

-Ask around: If you know anyone who has purchased from the seller before, ask them about their experience. Avoid online fraud by getting first-hand information from someone you trust can be very helpful in making your decision.

By taking these precautions, you can avoid online fraud and ensure that you have a positive and safe online shopping experience.


2. Be Wary of Unusual Payment Methods to Avoid Online Fraud

When you’re shopping online, be wary of any unusual payment methods that you’re asked to use. This could be a sign that you’re dealing with a scammer. For example, a seller asks you to send money to a random mobile money phone number (Airtel, MTN or Zamtel) instead of an official payments processor. Avoid online fraud by staying away from such transactions.

If you’re not sure whether a payment method is legitimate, do some research before you hand over any money. You can also avoid online fraud by contacting the company or seller directly to ask about their preferred payment methods. You should also report all such numbers to ZICTA to help other unsuspecting online users from falling victim to online fraud.

Remember, it’s always best to be safe than sorry when it comes to online fraud. If something doesn’t feel right, trust your gut and move on to another seller. That is how you outsmart online fraud.


3. Review Return Policies to Avoid Online Fraud

When you shop online, it’s important to be aware of the return policy of the store or website you’re buying from. This is because there are a lot of online fraud scams out there that take advantage of people who are not familiar with return policies.

Here are some red flags to take note of;

  • Make sure you know the return policy of the store or website before making a purchase.
  • If you’re not sure about the return policy, contact customer service and ask.
  • Be aware of any deadlines for returns, and make sure you ship any items back within that time frame.
  • Keep your receipt and tracking information for any purchases you make online. This will come in handy if you need to return an item or resolve online fraud disputes.
4. Don’t Give Out Personal Information to Avoid Online Fraud

In the age of online shopping, it’s important to be aware of the dangers that come with sharing your personal information online. Here is some advice regarding sharing personal information:

A. Don’t give out personal information: This includes your full name, home address, phone number, email address, or VISA card number. Be especially wary of any site that asks for this information upfront without any explanation as to why they need it.

B. Avoid online fraud by checking the site’s Security: Before inputting any sensitive information on a website, make sure that the site is secure. You can usually tell if a site is secure if the URL starts with “https://” instead of just “http://”. Additionally, look for a lock icon next to the URL in your browser bar. This makes it difficult for perpetrators of online fraud to get to you.

C. Using a Debit Card: If you do decide to input your debit card information on a website, make sure that you pay using a mediated service or payment gateway like DPO. This way, if your seller doesn’t follow through with an order, you can report the online fraud to the payments company and get reimbursed for any serviced charges.

D. Keep a record of your transactions: To combat online fraud, whenever you make an online purchase, be sure to keep a record of it including the date, time, amount, product purchased, and website where you made the purchase. This will come in handy if you need to dispute any fraudulent charges on your credit card statement.


5. Use Secure Payment Options to Avoid Online Fraud

When you’re shopping online, it’s important to avoid online fraud by using secure payment options to protect your personal and financial information. There are a few different ways to do this:

  • Use a prepaid debit card. This is a good option if you’re worried about giving your credit card information out online. You can load money onto the card ahead of time, and then use it to make purchases online.
  • Be cautious of unsolicited requests for personal information. Legitimate businesses will never ask for sensitive information like your NRC number, bank account details, or login credentials via email or over the phone. If you receive such a request, do not respond and report it to the authorities immediately.

Whichever payment option you choose, make sure that you’re using a secure website. Look for “https” at the beginning of the URL, and for a lock icon next to the URL. These are both indications that the site is using SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) encryption to protect your information.

You also need to double-check each time you are entering sensitive information on a website, make sure you review the entire URL in your active browser tab.


6. Watch for Phishing Attempts to Avoid Online Fraud

In recent years, phishing attempts have become more and more sophisticated. Scammers are now using fake websites and emails that look almost identical to the real thing in order to trick people into giving them personal information or financial information.

There are a few things you can do to protect yourself from phishing attempts:

  • Only shop on secure websites that start with “https://”
    make sure to look for a padlock icon in the address bar, which indicates that the site is using SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) encryption to protect your information. Never enter personal or financial information into an unsecured website. This is a highway move to becoming an online fraud victim.
  • Be suspicious of any emails or websites that ask for personal or financial information. If you’re not sure if an email or website is legitimate, contact the company directly to check.
  • Be cautious of emails that contain spelling or grammatical errors, or that seem to come from a different website than the one you’re visiting. If you’re unsure about a website, contact the customer service department of the company it claims to represent before making a purchase.
  • Don’t click on any links in unsolicited emails. Even if an email looks legitimate, it could be a phishing attempt that may make you a victim of online fraud.
  • Keep your antivirus software up to date. This will help protect your computer from malicious software that scammers may use to try and extract information from your computer.

By following these simple tips, you can help protect yourself from becoming a victim of fraud.


7. Shop With Trusted Retailers to Avoid Online Fraud

When it comes to avoiding online fraud, it’s important to only shop with trusted retailers. There are a lot of scammers out there who are looking to take advantage of unsuspecting shoppers. By only shopping with trusted retailers, you can avoid online fraud and ensure that your personal and financial information is safe.

Here are a few ways to verify trusted retailers:

  • Look for reviews. Checking out reviews from other customers can help you determine if a retailer is trustworthy. If you see a lot of negative reviews, it’s probably best to avoid that retailer.
  • Check the privacy policy. Before making a purchase, be sure to check out the retailer’s privacy policy. This will let you know how your personal information will be used and protected.
  • Be wary of too-good-to-be-true deals. If an online deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. Be especially cautious of freebies and deeply discounted items, as these are often used as bait to lure unsuspecting shoppers into becoming online fraud victims.

By following these tips, you can avoid online fraud and have a safe and enjoyable online shopping experience.



Here at Zwacha, we take security very seriously and that is why we always emphasize on online users to be aware. Online fraud is avoidable, and easily so. With the right safety measures in place, you can enjoy a secure and worry-free online shopping experience.

Whether it’s setting up extra security measures on your account or simply being more aware of potential scams, following our seven tips will help ensure that scammers don’t get their hands on your hard-earned money. And if ever you do come across suspicious activities while shopping online, don’t hesitate to contact us for assistance.

” In order for Zambia to harness the power of digital technologies and truly implement digital migration, a collective approach is cardinal. No single company, organization or ministry can achieve this alone.”

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anti-scam, online fraud, safety tips, Security, Shopper's guide

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