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Steer Clear of Deals That Seem too Good to be True, Says Citibank's Fraud Prevention Chief

Explore safe online shopping with Citibank's expert, Michael Steinbach, as he uncovers pitfalls and guides you to secure transactions in the digital era.
Pexels | Photo by Negative Space
Pexels | Photo by Negative Space

In the rapidly growing digital marketplace, the allure of convenience is intertwined with the ever-present risk of cyber fraud. This is where Bianca Alvarado's recent encounter with online shopping pitfalls serves as a lesson, underscoring the challenges users face when attempting to secure a lucrative deal while steering clear of potential scams. In the pursuit of the perfect gift for her boyfriend, Alvarado found herself at the center of a web of enticing offers, leaving her questioning the legitimacy of a seemingly fantastic deal on a John Mayer vinyl record, as per The U.S. Sun. In light of such incidents, Michael Steinbach, the astute head of global fraud prevention at Citibank, emerges as a guiding force, offering invaluable insights to empower consumers against the lurking threats in the digital marketplace.

Pexels | Photo by cottonbro studio
Pexels | Photo by cottonbro studio

Bianca, like many others, sought to surprise her boyfriend with a special gift, a vinyl record by John Mayer. However, her journey into the digital marketplace led her to a website boasting an incredible deal. The red flags included a lack of professional presentation, an absence of a tracking number, and a seemingly too-good-to-be-true offer.

Amidst too many options, Steinbach emphasizes the need for meticulous research before entrusting personal and financial information to an online retailer. While customer reviews can offer insights, their reliability is not infallible. To ascertain the legitimacy of a platform, Steinbach encourages users to invest a few minutes in conducting a broader online search. A company's history of unfulfilled orders or scam allegations may surface, serving as a crucial red flag for potential customers.

Citi bank | Getty Images
Citi bank | Getty Images

Beyond scrutinizing the reputation of an online seller, Steinbach draws attention to the temptation of eye-catching deals. In an era of discounts and flash sales, consumers must exercise caution when encountering offers that seem too good to be true. The allure of significantly discounted items can often mask the underlying risk of dealing with dubious sellers. Steinbach's advice is to simply think twice before clicking on advertisements leading to potentially dubious sellers.

Pexels | Photo by Polina Tankilevitch
Scam sales (representational image) | Pexels | Photo by Polina Tankilevitch

Safeguarding your financial information

Crucial to online security is the scrutiny of a website's URL before divulging any financial information. Legitimate sites typically sport clear, correctly spelled URLs, and the presence of a padlock icon next to the URL signals a secure webpage. This visual cue becomes a vital assurance for users, indicating that their sensitive information is less likely to fall prey to cyber threats. Surprisingly, only 37% of individuals affected by cybercrimes take the crucial step of contacting their banks promptly, as revealed by a Citi survey.

Securing technologies and data is quite a task. Companies must put in extra effort in making cybersecurity their number one task|Pexels
Securing technologies and data is quite a task (representational image)| Pexels

By keeping banks informed of fraudulent activities, individuals empower institutions to implement protective measures, mitigating the extent of financial losses. As the digital marketplace continues its rapid evolution, consumers must arm themselves with knowledge and vigilance. Steinbach's insights serve as a beacon, guiding individuals to exercise due diligence, approach tempting deals with caution, and prioritize the safeguarding of personal and financial information.