How To Make Online Shopping Safe
Online shopping has become more compelling to a lot of people over the years. We enjoy having everything a physical shop could offer at our fingertips, such as making purchases, finding discounts, comparing products, reading reviews and even some customer service.
Great deals can be made on the Internet by having our chosen products delivered to our doorstep within 12 hours in some places. A lot of people can also get their hands on certain products that wouldn’t be available for them without having access to an online store.
Also, some people couldn’t do without the convenience online shopping offers, because it spares them a lot of time. Today, we can buy just about anything from the Internet which is awesome. It provides us with opportunities that normal shops couldn’t. The possibility to view thousands of products and compare each of them with so much speed and so little effort simply isn’t possible in a physical shop.
So it’s only natural that there are billions and trillions of dollars in eCommerce and the number of people and the money invested keeps growing every year. This opens up many opportunities for users and hackers as well. Some clever people are constantly looking for the chance to steal user information and credit card numbers, which are necessary for purchasing goods online.
What’s even worse is that there are a lot of fraud websites that just aim to take your money and not give you the product you ordered in return. There are a numbers of risks involved that you have to keep in perspective and do the necessary precautions to avoid them.
The Risks of Shopping Online
- Fake online stores– Individuals pay for products on unsecure webpages, having their money thrown out the window because the product wasn’t real in the first place.
- Inferior goods or none at all – Paying money and receiving something else that you were promised or nothing at all.
- Fake prices – Having offered fake prices in advertisements, based on your browsing habits and the kind of web shops you’ve visited.
- Deceptive reviews – Reading a review would be a solid way of determining the quality of a product but a lot of them offer fake reviews. Some people hype products only to sell them or they have been paid by companies to do so.
- Identity theft – This is probably the greatest risk that an online shopper could take. Hackers could even hijack someone’s computer files and demand cash for getting their data back.
- Unencrypted websites – An unencrypted webshop has a lot of dangers because it the information you provide open to anyone.
Ensuring Safe Online Purchases
The first thing you’d want to rely on is your brain and your shopping instinct. If you’re browsing a plain and sloppy looking website, that doesn’t mean that you’re going to do a good business most of the time. Some deals are just too good to be true.
If you want to buy a specific product from a webshop, do some research before purchasing it. Go to the brand’s main website and see what else they offer on there. Look around in social media and see what other users have to say about it. Also, make sure that they have a refund policy.
There are also a number of technical details you can handle to make online shopping as safe as possible.
Buy From Familiar Websites With Good Reputation
Find a trusted website instead of small sites that offer too good to be true deals. Searching for products with search engines also has its risks because they can lead you to said sites. Purchase products from sites you know like eBay, Amazon or any other website you trust.
To ensure that your chosen webshop is legit, do some research on it. Look for every bit of information you can find.
Also, look for any misspellings. A webshop can be put together in a short amount of time and in many cases, spelling is one thing they don’t take the time to look through so any misspelling can give a fake site away.
Trust is the most important factor in every financial transaction. So it’s important to establish trust with your chosen store. Most good websites know that and work on building solid relationships with their customers.
Make Sure The Site is Encrypted (See if it has the lock)
Don’t buy anything with your credit card from a site that doesn’t have at least proper SSL encryption. Also, you should see HTTPS:// at the beginning of the websites URL instead of just HTTP://. HTTPS stands for Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure and it ensures that the connection between your PC and the website is secure and on one else is stealing the information you transmit.
Don’t Share Too Much
Most online shops require your name, your credit card number and your address to give you the product you want. So, it would be strange for them to ask for your birthday or social security number or any other kind of personal information. The more they know about you, the easier identity theft becomes.
Protect Your PC
During online purchases a lot of personal and valuable information is transferred. You have to block off any software that might record that information and send it to someone else. Install an anti-malware or antivirus program to ensure that your information stays safe on your PC.
Fortify Your Online Presence
Create the strongest passwords possible. Make them at least 12 characters long with a mix of numbers and characters. Also make sure that you have different passwords to different accounts. Use other security measures like biometrics, on time security keys and so on.
Use Your Credit Card Instead of Your Debit Card
Debit cards ensure that you’re spending your own cash but they don’t have buyer protection as other options do. A credit card or other virtual wallet payment options like PayPal offer a lot more safety and flexibility. With them, you can request a chargeback and get your money back seamlessly if anything goes wrong.
You can also use a single-use credit card number, which is tied to your original credit card but can be used on time for a single transaction. Using that will be great if there is a security breach at the webshop you purchased products at. It will ensure that no one gets their hands on your credit card details.
Use Mobile Apps
Big retailers like Amazon and Target have their own apps that you can use to browse their products and shop for goods without having to provide your information on a website. You can make purchases directly without having to do anything else.
Use a Secure Wi-Fi Connection
If you’re using a mobile device or a laptop to shop, you’ll have to have a secure network connection. An easy way to do it is to use a VPN (virtual private network) connection. You have many free and paid solutions to make it happen and make not only your purchases but your entire online presence a whole lot safer.
Make a Habit of Checking Your Credit Card Transactions
Once you’ve made a number of online purchases, check and make sure that you know and control your account. If you see any kind of suspicious activity, contact your bank right away.
See If The Website Has a Privacy Statement
Trustworthy websites are straightforward about how to protect their customer’s personal information and credit-card data and they tell you if they sell any of that information to other companies. Read through this statement and decide if you feel comfortable to shop after you’ve read through it.
The first things shoppers need in order to buy a certain product are interest and a sense of security. Most businesses know that and they do everything they can to ensure that your trust is well established. They make a website that looks good enough and is compelling to their users.
You can always see how much work, care and administration has been put into an online business and determines if it is legitimate. Thankfully, there are also a lot of forums and other reliable websites that do review and talk about any web store that hits the surface.
Once again, before you buy products from any website, make sure that you do plenty of research and see if they’re credible enough. Look through everything and judge if you’re willing to put your information and money into their hands.
I hope that you have enjoyed reading through this article and that you’ll be shopping safely from now on!
Featured Image Designed by Freepik