The pandemic over the past one year has changed a lot of our preferences and habits. One of such is consumer behaviour. We are now more likely to buy products using the digital media; be it e-commerce websites, retailers going digital or the emergences of social commerce.
What is Social Commerce?
Social commerce or community commerce is when you buy or sell a product using social media platform as the medium. More times than often such mediums are Instagram pages, Facebook community groups and Whatsapp.
On social commerce, your entire purchasing process takes places on a social media platform, from the discovery of the product to the final payment.
How is Social Commerce different from E-commerce?
Though both of them are over a digital medium, perhaps are very distinctive with one another. By simple definition, social commerce allows us to purchase a product within the ambit of our own social medias.
The pandemic has acted as a catalyst for the increasingly faster adoption of social media and subsequently, shopping over social media platforms. One of the key drivers for these platforms are- Accessibility, Affordability and Availability.
Why you should be careful while shopping from these social media pages?
More times than often it happens, we tend to give out more personal information which can later be misused by the cybercriminals and fraudsters to trick us into something else. The personal information provided by you can be used against you for phishing scams.
How can fraudsters trick you?
- The newest way is they hack Instagram pages having more than 10k followers, change their name, profile etc. to portray as a legitimate online shopping page. Offering huge discounts, they attract a lot of customers, do not accept cash-on-delivery as a mode of payment and insist on making prior payments. Once the payment is done via UPI the product is never delivered to the customer.
- Another, when you share your personal details such as personal email address, phone number, location etc. you can fall prey to phishing email scams.
- At times, these pages also create groups which they later sell to scammers.
What can be done to stay safe while shopping via social media?
- Be mindful while shopping on any social media platform
- Before you make a purchase, look for authentic reviews of the product as well as the shopping page
- In case you do fall prey to such an incident, make sure to report the incident on the cybercrime reporting portal (https://cybercrime.gov.in) or for tag your state’s cyber cell department explaining the incident and attach a few screenshots of your chats and the shopping page as well.
The criminals are always going to be ahead of the time and the legislation and regulation. There is still a long way to go before we have a regulation in place for the norms and procedure of shopping via social media platforms and to enforce liability. Therefore, as consumer we need to be alert and aware of the emerging trends in crime.
Doing a basic double-check can help you avoid falling prey to such mishaps. And lastly, unfortunately if you do fall prey to being cheated by the fraudster make sure you report the incident this will help the authorities to track the patterns and trends of the cybercriminals as the amount cheated and with the use of social media it often becomes a task for the authority to track these cybercriminals reporting would enable them prevent future crimes.
That’s all from us