Shopping is one of the most cherished activities in the world for most people. What’s more, fun is finding exactly what you need just from a few clicks and having it show up at your doorstep. Shopping online is super convenient; you can find exactly what you need without going through the hassle of going to a store, trying to find it, and ending up buying nothing at all (or buying more than what you need).
Business companies have shifted from the conventional method of selling items to the electronic method due to the quick development of technology. The internet is the primary means of conducting business for organizations. The amount of online buying grows daily. Because of the simplicity and convenience it provides, the availability of a large range of products on a single platform, as well as the offers and discounts, many now prefer online shopping to offline shopping.
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 it could be just a display of the product. Don’t rush into clicking the “buy” button just yet. Read along to find 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 online shopping is involved, there is no guarantee of the product's actual existence. Some faux sites exist to scam users by collecting their 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 seem 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 traveling to and from your devices while keeping you anonymous.
Don’t turn your password into ‘12345678’
If someone gains access to your account and changes the shipping address, then you will be stuck with the bill while he/she gets all the goodies. Make the defense of 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 indicates that the website has an SSL certification that encrypts the data that comes to and from the website. Another thing to look for is the “https” at the beginning of the URL. If intercepted by third parties, the payment details you submit will not be useful since all the data is encrypted.
Keep an eye out 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 kinds of emails can infect your device with viruses 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 never click on the links inside.
Protection is ALWAYS better than a cure!
Don’t give out all your 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, it could be a scam. It’s better to walk away from this kind of site.
Use a credit card whenever possible.
The best liability protection, both online and offline, is given when using a credit card. You won't have to pay if someone uses your card for unauthorized payments. In contrast, the card company investigates the situation, and most significant companies offer 0 euro liability for fraudulent purchases.
Also, some banks offer virtual credit cards that 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 always to check your bank balance and the statements weekly (or regularly). If a fraudulent payment occurs, you will know whether you made the payment. Also, try to set up account alerts so that you will get an SMS alert or an email about the charge every time a payment is made.
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.
Do you value your privacy online?
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