People get scammed, I hope you never have and while I have come across those who would simply never shop online for safety reasons, there are more people out there who leave themselves vulnerable to attacks by cyber criminals. Identity theft, credit card fraud, unauthorized withdrawals from your account are but a few ways criminals are able to take your hard-earned cash. Fear not, however, because in recent years, website owners and businesses selling online have made great strides in ensuring that your transactions are safe and that you will receive exactly what you have purchase at precisely the correct price.
What to Look Out For – Safety Measures
By following a few simple tips, you can prevent the vast majority of scams and happily continue to shop online:
- Only Buy From Reputable Sources: If a site looks slightly obscure, it probably is. You are better off sticking with well-known websites or sites run by well-known businesses.
- Check the Site’s Security Certificate: Encryption has played a huge role in making online shopping safe. You can check if a website is secure by looking at the web address. Secure sites feature an added “s”in the http address and look as follow: https://. Once you see the “s” you will know that the site has a secure sockets layer or in other words that your information will be encrypted.
- Don’t Divulge Unnecessary Information: Occasionally, I receive emails from my bank urging me not to respond to email requests for detailed personal information. You should never tell all and if you do, you risk having your identity copied and used. Credit cards are actually a safe payment option and if you happen to be scammed you have a good chance of getting your money back.
- Use Strong Passwords: Make sure to create passwords that no one can guess. Don’t use your birthday or even your partner’s date of birth. Find something unusual that you are the only one to remember and make sure to use a mixture of caps, numbers and small letters.
- Check the Small Print: Reading pages and pages of terms and conditions is something few people go through the trouble of doing, however, I must recommend that you do! In some cases, you may be subscribing to a service you may not wish to avail of, give away your right to return products or be scammed in some other way, simply because you couldn’t be bothered to read the small print.
- Be Careful Before You Click: A friend of my recently booked a flight with a reputable airline. A few weeks later he noticed strange withdrawals from his account. On checking, he was told that he had forgotten to “opt out” and had inadvertently signed up for a discount club. This club was associated with the airline and by clicking on “pay” to secure the flight, he had joined because he hadn’t opted out! Crazy, I know. Luckily, it was quite easy for my friend to get a refund.
- Check Your Bank Statements: Regularly checking your bank statements and check with your bank if there is a transaction you to do not recognize is absolutely necessary. Banks are pretty good at tracing payments and helping you to get a refund.
- Don’t Be Blinded by Bargains: You may be lucky and get the bargain of a lifetime, but do make sure to minimize your risks and if you knowingly do end up taking a risk, make sure that only small amounts of cash are involved.
- Buying Pre-Loved Products: I have bought quite a number of used items, vintage shoes, antique jewelry and old furniture, but can only recommend purchasing pre-loved items from a local supplier. That way, you can return items and have some comeback if something goes wrong. Admittedly, I have bought many fabulous items that way, just be smart about such purchases. Particularly if you are buying used technology devices, make sure they come with a warranty.
With these precautions, you can have hours of shopping fun, get top products at knock-down prices without ever getting stuck in traffic. For me, online shopping is like having the best shops right at your fingertips without any of the pain of traipsing through countless shops.