Buying gifts for your friends and loved ones, getting that new shoes you have always had your eye on, or simply shopping for something that will catch your attention have become easier because of virtual shops. Online shops provide the convenience everyone wants while shopping. No need to walk from one store to another. No line queues to worry about. Everything can be done in just a few clicks. The only problem is how to tell if the online shop you’re buying from is safe. No worries, though, as there are simple tips you can follow to make sure that you get the best deal and the safest experience when buying products online.
Shop Online Only If the Wi-Fi or Internet Connection is Secure
Public networks may offer the convenience of shopping online anytime and anywhere, but they also bring you close to danger. Public networks are not as secure as you want to believe they are. Anyone can use a public connection, so it wouldn’t be safe to make your online purchases on such network. Online thieves, cyber criminals, and hackers can easily steal your personal information. Go for a secure network. You can go to a coffee shop with a secure connection if you really want to make a purchase as soon as possible.
Choose Familiar Brands and Websites
Go only for familiar brands and websites when choosing an online shop or seller. This is important especially if you’re looking for discounted deals, as many of those offering such specials are small and unreliable sites. URLs that begin with https (and have a padlock symbol) are safer than those that do not. Additionally, check the online shop’s URL for incorrect spelling and suspicious words. The most ideal thing to do is to go to the store’s official website and look for the link to their online shop. The next best thing to do is to find the online shop’s contact information. If it does not provide one, be suspicious.
Do Not Fall for Offers That are Too Good to Be True
“If it’s too good to be true, it probably is” may be a cliché, but it is true. And it will benefit you a lot if you keep this in mind when buying or ordering products online. Be extra vigilant when an offer (discount, sale, free purchase, etc.) is too good to be true. A lot of scammers use this to lure buyers. For example, one online shop is offering a popular new product (like the latest iPhone perhaps?) for half its original price, be wary of this promo and website. Aside from endangering your personal information, you’ll also open your device or gadget to infections/virus or malware. What you can do when you encounter online shops like this is to do a little research about the company or vendor and then look for contact information. Be suspicious if the website has no contact page or information.
Use Your Credit Card, Not Your Debit Card
When you buy stuff online, pay for them with your credit card instead of your debit card. Credit cards have stricter safety practices and specific spending limits. Debit cards are directly connected to your bank account, which means all of your savings will be in danger. Also, if you use your debit card, you won’t be able to easily recover when your account is compromised. You’ll immediately lose (all) your money. For credit cards, you get a chance to report fraudulent charges and dispute this. Additionally, use a credit card with low credit limit when shopping online. You can also try using credit cards that are made especially for online shopping. Some of these cards function like gift cards and can be used once only.
Choose Online Shopping Sites with Encrypted Checkout Area
An online shopping site with an encrypted checkout area is your safest choice. This means the payment form is encrypted and the information it contains cannot be easily stolen. There are also online shops that use a verification process before the final checkout to verify the buyer’s identity.
Make a Record of All Your Payments and Purchases
Finally, make a list of all the payments and purchases you made. You can compare this with the list that will be emailed by retailers, as well as with the records sent by your credit card provider. If you have a record of your payments, you’ll be regularly updated with your transactions and you’ll be able to notify your provider if there are suspicious purchases in the list, especially if you don’t recall making it.