6 Best Options To Ensure Safe Online Shopping
Online shopping has emerged as a convenient alternative to traditional shopping. It saves the time and energy that would otherwise be spent on roaming around the malls. However, this safe and secure option does have some drawbacks too. From online frauds to hacks and identity thefts, it is exposed to a number of security threats. Thus, you need to be extremely careful to stay protected against all forms of cyber threats.
Fortunately, there are various options and tricks for a safe online shopping experience. Here we list a few key ways applying which will greatly facilitate you in making safe purchases.
1. Shop From Known And Trusted Websites
When you start searching for online stores, you will come across a plethora of websites offering cheap products with quick delivery methods and easy payment solutions. Nonetheless, not every store works in the same impressive manner as claimed. Many of such stores are backed by scammers who merely prey on your data.
A safe way to shop online is to always choose trusted and familiar stores. For instance, Amazon, Best Buy, Target, and others. Make sure that you click on legit websites, with no misspells or spin-offs of store names. The sites must have clear logos of the stores and should link back to legit social media pages.
2. Verify The Seller
Many times, you land a legit website to shop something, but fall prey at the hands of a scammer present there as a seller. These sellers may not as such collect your data, but they get a pretty good opportunity to take your money and disappear without delivering anything to you. Besides, you may also stumble upon fake sellers at their own websites or untrusted e-stores as well.
Therefore, the best option to ensure safe shopping is to verify the sellers before placing an order. You can verify them at the scam tracker and online directory set up by the Better Business Bureau. In addition, look for contact details of the sellers – particularly, a working phone number and an existent address – so that you would know where to go next in case of queries or complaints.
You can also judge the validity of a seller from positive customer reviews. However, some sellers even place forged reviews on their products. So, if you see exceptionally positive feedback, better stay away.
3. Shop From ‘HTTPS’ Sites Only
HTTPS is the secure protocol that ensures encrypted transmittance of your data to the website you visit, without leaking it to others. Most fake sellers do not bother to have https applied on their websites. Hence, one of the best way to judge the validity of an online store to look for the presence of ‘https’ before the URL in the address bar, or the appearance of a padlock sign before the link. If you do not see this sign, or the website URL has only ‘http’ (without ‘s’ that stands for ‘secure’), then be assured that you are not at the right place. Better leave the site as soon as you can.
4. Pay Through Your Phone
Whether you are paying through your credit/debit card at any brick-and-mortar store, or online, the risk of fraudulent transaction and theft are always there. Thus, payment through mobile apps comes as a secure solution for mobile users. The apps like Apple Pay or Google Pay make payment much easier, quicker, and secure with one-time authentication codes. This mode saves you from card skimming attacks, theft of payment card details from e-stores, or physical theft if you carry the card(s) with you.
5. Share What Is *Required* Only
When entering your details at the checkout pages, look for the ‘*’ sign before the options. Most legit websites clearly mark what information they necessarily require for processing of your order. Ideally, they should not need your birth date and sensitive data, such as Social Security number to proceed. Carefully review what details the retailer requires, and only enter the desired/necessary information. This should ideally include your name, contact number, billing and delivery addresses, and credit card details if you choose to pay through the card. Otherwise, a good e-store will accept payments through different options, leaving it on the customers to choose whatever seems convenient to them.
6. Keep An Eye On Your Statements
The more you remain vigilant in tracking the transactions from your bank, the greater will be the chances of you to identify any wrongdoing. Keep an eye on your bank statements. Instead of waiting for the bill, log into your internet banking portal on a daily basis and carefully review the transactions. If you do not authorize a transaction, quickly inform your bank authorities and take the steps to protect your account as guided by your bank.
Shopping online is of no risk until you remain careful about your security. The next time you want to buy something, go online and apply all the options guided above. You will surely have a safe experience.