- 16 Apr 2018
- Rizwan Firoze
Let’s just face it, there are more than enough reasons in the world to shop online. You get access to the mind-boggling assortment of products right from the comfort of your home. Amazing deals, easy returns, secure shopping-shopping has never been this convenient. A few clicks and voila, you are done!
Anything and everything can be brought online. You name it and online stores have it. Right from clothes, electronic appliances to even home appliances are available online.
This is why online shopping gains its popularity every year. Almost everything can be bought online! You name it, the internet has it. However, it's important to take note that you'll still need to take some precautions when purchasing items online. Remember, cyber criminals are always on the prowl.
Stay calm. While somewhat alarming, these stats should not keep you from shopping online. You simply need some common sense and practical advice. Follow these basic guidelines and you can shop online with confidence. Here are 11 tips for staying safe online, so you can start checking off items on that holiday shopping list.
Personal information is like money:
Value it and protect it: When making a purchase online, be alert to the kinds of information being collected to complete the transaction. Make sure you think it is necessary for the vendor to request that information. Remember, you only need to fill out required fields at checkout.
Use safe payment options:
Credit cards are generally the safest option because they allow buyers to seek a credit from the issuer if the product isn’t delivered or isn’t what was ordered.
Use Familiar Websites
Start at a trusted site rather than shopping with a search engine. Search results can be rigged to lead you astray, especially when you drift past the first few pages of links. If you know the site, chances are it's less likely to be a rip off. We all know Amazon.com and that it carries everything under the sun; likewise, just about every major retail outlet has an online store, from Target to Best Buy to Home Depot. Beware of misspellings or sites using a different top-level domain (.net instead of .com, for example)—those are the oldest tricks in the book. Yes, the sales on these sites might look enticing, but that's how they trick you into giving up your info.
Look for the Lock
Never ever, ever buy anything online using your credit card from a site that doesn't have SSL (secure sockets layer) encryption installed—at the very least. You'll know if the site has SSL because the URL for the site will start with HTTPS:// (instead of just HTTP://). An icon of a locked padlock will appear, typically in the status bar at the bottom of your web browser, or right next to the URL in the address bar. It depends on your browser.
Never, ever give anyone your credit card over email. Ever.
Ensure your session is secure
Make sure the shopping site URL begins with ‘https’, or that the browser bar contains the locked padlock symbol or is green. These signs mean your information is encrypted and therefore harder for a hacker to access.
Be Wary of Scams and Fraud
Lastly, avoid getting scammed. Privacy and security is a serious concern among users who worry about deceitful fraudsters who may use different methods to access your valuable personal details, such as your usernames and passwords. There are many deceitful websites out there disguising themselves as online shopping stores in order to to get information from you. But how can you tell if a website is fake? By using Google Trusted Stores, a verification system for all online shopping sites, users can determine which shop is trustworthy or not.
Don't wait for your bill to come at the end of the month. Go online regularly during the holiday season and look at electronic statements for your credit card, debit card, and checking accounts. Make sure you don't see any fraudulent charges, even originating from sites like PayPal. (After all, there's more than one way to get to your money.)
If you do see something wrong, pick up the phone to address the matter quickly. In the case of credit cards, pay the bill only once you know all your charges are accurate. You have 30 days to notify the bank or card issuer of problems, however; after that, you might be liable for the charges anyway.