Three Prevalent Threats Against Online Shoppers In 2024

Online shopping continues to grow as a significant part of modern commerce. Data from Forbes Advisor shows that global retail e-commerce sales will hit $6.3 trillion in 2024, making up around a fifth of all retail transactions.

The rise of online shopping has been advantageous but has also brought a host of challenges. Consumers, in particular, are becoming targets of cyber attacks. From data theft to scams and financial fraud, online shoppers can encounter many threats as they participate in online commerce. Here’s a look at three of the most common in 2024.

Website Spoofing

Website spoofing is a form of brand impersonation that is often leveraged to defraud customers by sending phishing emails or text messages containing malicious links to spoofed websites impersonating a brand. These links can be found in many other places as well, such as on impersonated social media accounts or fake job advertisements and malicious ads displayed on legitimate websites.

Website spoofing has become quite rampant over the past few years, becoming a widely-used tactic by malicious actors that involves creating a fake version of a brand’s website to fool its customers into providing their personal information, which is then stolen and used against them for fraud. The spoofed website can be used to mislead customers, collect sensitive data such as login credentials, or deceive them into placing an order and paying for it through the spoofed website. 

Ran Arad from Memcyco, a digital trust technology provider, describes website spoofing as “the point of impact where the fraud is successful—users are fooled into believing it’s genuine and taking actions like signing in or downloading a file.”

Addressing website spoofing can be difficult if not done efficiently. Learning about the existence of spoofed websites can take time unless you have a real-time detection solution in place. The process of taking down spoofed websites can also take significant time, possibly up to months. Plus, new spoofed sites can easily be created by actors today given the level of sophisticated technology that is available to anyone who knows where to look. Therefore, as an online retail or e-commerce business, it is advisable to holistically counter this threat through the following key points: thwarting brand impersonation attempts, detecting the emergence of spoofed websites in real time, and maintaining your customers’ trust in your online domain.

Memcyco offers a solution that detects spoofing attempts of your website in real time and alerts customers if they visit a spoofed version of your website, warning them not to interact with it. If a customer still falls victim to an attack, Memcyco provides full details of it to the company so you can immediately start remediation efforts. What’s most unique about its solution, however, is that it keeps customers safe from all existing spoofed versions of your website no matter how many there are, thanks to what it calls “nano defender” technology. 

Social Media Impersonation

Data from the Brand Protection Trend Report shows that there was a 22 percent year-over-year increase in social media account impersonations in 2023. This is a growing problem that affects online shoppers in two main ways. Firstly, social media contains live selling and marketplace features. They have become hubs for online shopping, which can make them vehicles for attacks. Secondly, social media accounts and pages can be used to impersonate legitimate brands and mislead customers into using a spoofed website and paying for an invalid transaction. 

“Any account can become compromised and used to disguise a scammer, including businesses,” notes a report by the Better Business Bureau. “Trust in your intuition, and if something doesn’t seem right, verify directly with that person or business through another contact method.”

Social media impersonation may not be as potent as website spoofing and other more sophisticated cyber attacks, but it cannot be downplayed or ignored. TikTok or Facebook accounts created as spoofs can be very harmful, deceiving users into stealing their data.

Without a solution to combat social media impersonation, customers are left vulnerable, which is way too risky for any aspiring business. Therefore, it’s advisable to invest in a cybersecurity solution to combat the issue. A tool like Facia uses AI to help detect deepfakes and prevent spoofing attacks. It can spot instances of face swaps that may be used by fraudsters who attempt to use live chats or live videos as proof of their authenticity. It can also detect 3D masks, hyperrealistic masks, and camera manipulation.


E-skimming, or online skimming, refers to the injection of malicious code into the payment processing system of an e-commerce site or online store. The purpose of this is to collect the credit card details of a buyer. It is the digital and online counterpart of card skimming devices attached to ATMs to steal card and merchant information and use the stolen details to make transactions using the affected card.

Based on documented cases of online skimming, attackers usually start their attacks by compromising the content delivery network used by an organization to change the JS code, which is used to enable payment transactions. E-skimming collects sensitive data including card numbers, contact and location information, and other details inputted by a user into a site when making a payment.

The FBI estimates that e-skimming scams costs banks and customers at least $1 billion per year. “Vigilance and caution are the most important factors in preventing a credit card skimming attempt, which can be tough to detect. The best way to identify an attack is to keep an eye on signs of tampering, damaged parts, or intrusion,” according to Mastercard.

It is the responsibility of companies to prevent e-skimming, as customers expect secure payment gateways when they interact with an online brand. Some key ways to address this problem is to regularly evaluate your website’s code to make sure it is not infected by malicious scripts, verify the proper configuration of content delivery networks, and unify the configuration of all software implementations to avoid inconsistencies that can turn into vulnerabilities.

For new e-commerce businesses with no proven track record in payment processing, it helps to use reputable third-party payment processing systems like DigiPay.Guru to process payments away from the main e-commerce site, making it less prone to skimming attacks.

In summary

Online shoppers need to be vigilant as they deal with e-commerce sites and transactions. The cases of website spoofing, social media impersonation, and e-skimming are increasing. It is important for online consumers to be watchful of these threats and, more importantly, for businesses to adequately address them to protect their customers and business bottom lines. With proper solutions in place, online retail and e-commerce business owners can take the necessary measures to keep their customers safe from online fraud.


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