Shopping is one of the most cherished activities in the world for majority of the people. What’s more fun is finding exactly what you need just from a few clicks and having it show up at your door step. Shopping online is super convenient s you can find exactly what you need without going through the hassle of going to a store, trying to find it and end up buying nothing at all (or buying more than what you need).
The sad truth is that it’s not always rainbows and fluffy rabbits when it comes to online shopping. Every shop you see online might have what you need but in reality it could be just a display of the product. Don’t rush into clicking the “buy” button just yet. Read along to find the 10 of the best tips to get your online shopping done safely in the right way.
- Do a proper background check
When shopping in real life you will know that there is a business and the inventory exists even before buying the product. However, when it online shopping is involved there is no guarantee of the products actual existence. Some faux sites exist just to scam the users by collecting there personal data and payment details. Always
- try to do your online shopping with retailers you trust
- Check if the company has contact details on the website
- Check their customer reviews
- Check their social media engagement
- Too good to be true prices
If you see a lot of offers with extremely low prices or a LOT of free giveaways that seems to be too good to be true, then it’s probably bogus. The best way to find out is to compare similar websites and products to find the truth. Extremely low prices or free iPhone giveaways are a potential warning sign that the site exists to scam you and collect your data (and even money).
- Don’t buy the new Jordans from your favorite café
Avoid using any public Wi-Fi to make any transactions online. The public networks are not equipped with the level of security needed for making data transmission secure. Since it’s a public Wi-Fi, anyone on the network can intercept the data which means your credentials and payment details can be intercepted. The best way to avoid this is to use a VPN. This will encrypt all your data travelling to and from your devices while keeping you anonymous.
- Don’t turn your password into ‘12345678’
If someone gains access to your account, change the shipping address then you will be stuck with the bill while he/she will get all the goodies. Make your defense to your online account as strong as possible by using unique passwords. A strong password:
- Contain upper and lower case letters with numbers and symbols combined
- Should not include personal information like your name
- Should not be reused for other accounts
- Should not be words from the dictionary
- Check out the websites safety features
Whenever you go to your shopping site, be sure to check for the little lock on the search bar. This is an indication that the website has an SSL certification which encrypts the data which comes to and from the website. Another thing to look for is the “https” at the beginning of the URL. The payment details you submit if intercepted by third parties will not be useful since all the data is encrypted.
- Keep an eye for scam emails
Sometimes you will get some deals for your email that are so sweet that it’s irresistible. It can be a very “special offer” that will expire in a few hours tempting you to click on it – but don’t. These kind of emails can infect your device with virus and malware so it’s always better to be on the safe side. My advice is to delete them, don’t open them, don’t look at them and don’t ever click on the links inside.
Protection is ALWAYS better than cure!
- Don’t give out all information from you to your grandma!
While shopping online, no site would want your tax numbers, social security numbers or your grandma’s age. If a website asks for loads of personal information for your purchase, then it could be a scam. It’s better to walk away from these kind of sites.
- Use a credit card whenever possible
The best liability protection both online and offline is given when using a credit card. If someone uses your card for unauthorized payments, then you won’t have to pay while the card company investigates the situation and most major company’s offers 0 euro liability for fraudulent purchases.
Also some banks offers virtual credit cards where they randomly generate a number linked to your account and you can choose when it expires. So if anyone tried to use that number is out of luck.
- Don’t throw your receipts
After making the purchase don’t forget to save the receipts, the order confirmation number and the postal tracking number. If something goes wrong, this information will help in solving the problem with the merchant.
- Be paranoid. Check your bank statements
Make it a habit to always check your bank balance and the statements weekly (or regularly). If a fraudulent payment takes place you will know whether you made the payment or not. Also try to set up account alerts so that every time a payment is made you will get an SMS alert or an email about the charge.
At the end of the day the best way is to use your common sense and trust your instincts. If it seems too good to be true, best avoid it. If something seems sketchy and suspicious you can always turn back and not make a purchase.
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