The world has evolved significantly over the last century. Everything we do has been revolutionized and altered in one way or the other. The same can be said for shopping. Gone are the days where you had to hop on from one store to the other in search of the best product and the best price, nowadays you can compare products at the click of a mouse button while sipping tea in the comfort of your home.
This revolution in shopping has pleased everyone around the globe. Businesses are making more profits than before, more competition has produced better products for the customers at better prices, it is simpler and its cheaper. However when we venture onto the territory of shopping online we have to take into consideration a couple of things. Things which are meant to make the experience a safe one.
1. Use famous branded website
Shop at a site which has some brand name attached to it. Just don’t click on any website which pops up in the search results as people in the past have been known to maliciously trick Search engines to bring fake websites to the top of the first page.
So it is a a safer option to buy on Amazon or Ebay as they carry credibility. Similarly, if you buy from the retailer’s own website you can rest easy. Having said that make sure that the website’s name is not misspelled to fake a proper brand name.
2. The Green Lock
Ever notice the green lock at the corner of the address bar in your browser. Just like the one you can see on this website. That lock means that the website is using an encrypted connection between it’s server and you so that nobody can hijack the data in transit. Never buy from a website which does not have the lock.
3. Avoid giving unrequited information
Almost all shopping website over the internet would require you to signup and create an account when you attempt to buy anything from them. That is pretty standard and nothing to be scared of. However when you signup to any website please note that all the fields in Signup form are not required.
Enter only the information which is required, so there is no need to enter your Social Security Number, Date of Birth or social website page. This practice should be followed even on big branded websites.
4. Check your Statements
Whenever you buy something from the internet make it a habit to immediately check your credit card statement online. Don’t wait for the postal mail to come. Sometime the websites may bill you extra or apply some hidden charges. So if such is the case it would be a good idea to talk to the merchant and you bank immediately to sort this out.
5. Read Everything
I have often seen people shopping online in a rush and hitting the Next and Agreed button faster than Superman. Bad Idea. Many websites would try to sell you something extra during your shopping, these things would be pre checked so if you hit next and do not uncheck them you will be billed for them.
Even if you read through all the steps, carefully examine the final bill before checkout. Read through the terms and conditions and ensure that you understand them prior to making the purchase.
6. Ensure that your Computer is free from bugs
Anybody who has computers for any length of time would most likely be aware of the term computer bugs. These include and are not limited to virus, malware, spyware, adware and a plethora of other names. These things might lie dormant in your system waiting for the opportune moment to swindle your Credit Card information, personal data, social media files etc.
It is a must that your system should have the latest operating system updates installed and a good Antivirus. If you have the budget it is strongly recommended that instead of buying just an antivirus buy an entire internet security suite. Scan your system regularly and keep your security program updated.
7. Avoid shopping over public Networks
Nowadays it is very easy to find free Wifi almost everywhere. Although it is a good idea to save bandwidth cost by connecting over these public networks to watch a movie or for casual browsing, experts strongly advise against shopping online using public networks.
When signing up it is often tempting to use some basic information for the password. People often use mobile numbers, spouse names, children’s name, pet names, date of birth. This spells trouble. The password should be as cryptic as possible so that no one can guess it.
Experts also say that people often use same password across all websites including their bank accounts. Safe to say that this is a highly risky strategy. Even if you create strong passwords which are hard to guess it is still a good idea to change them from time to time.
9. Due Diligence
Websites that look cheap or feel shaky could be signs of a fake or scam seller. If you are suspicious about anything on the website it is a good idea to do some digging on the internet. There are websites dedicated to reviewing different websites and they would not hesitate to expose websites as they really are.
10. What If?
We all make mistakes. If you have been scammed or defrauded by any website you should publicize them as much as possible over the internet. Use social media and Youtube. Make a blog post on some popular blog site or give your review on some popular website. Do what you must so that more innocent people don’t fall victim to such websites.