Tips on how to shop safely online
Online shopping has become one of the most popular activities on the internet. When the internet first started, most shoppers were wary of this new technology. The internet was something new and they did not trust it as a place to buy products and services. Payment processors were not as advanced as they are now, it was difficult to research sellers and deliveries were not always reliable. Despite this, improvements have been made in this area and the internet continues to grow as a popular place to purchase all kinds of products.
Keep an eye out for fake reviews
Don’t believe everything you read online. Some dishonest online merchants add fake reviews about their products and services. Others pay people to write these reviews. If you’re looking for accurate reviews about an online store and its products, carry out some Google searches on the company and visit reliable consumer websites that provide independent reviews of particular stores and products.
Don’t fall victim to hidden fees
Watch out for any hidden fees. When you a see a bargain that’s too good to be true, it often is too good to be true. The sale price may be low but there could be high hidden costs involved in the transaction. Shipping costs for example are often applied to an online sale during the checkout process, making the overall price a lot higher than you expected.
Avoid buying counterfeit products and products that never arrive
Most products can be easily copied. Electronic products, in particular, have many clones that look the same and carry out the same functions. However, not all are built to last and don’t have a product guarantee. If you are buying a well know brand name product online, you want to be sure that’s what is delivered to you. In other situations you may have paid for a product that never arrives at all! This is why it’s important to buy from trusted online stores, recommended by people you know and trust.
Use safe, secure eCommerce stores and payment processors
It’s better to be safe than sorry when you buy online. One store may offer better deals than another, but it may not be a safe or secure place to buy products. Always check the domain name of the web page you are purchasing from. Secure websites normally have a domain name that begins with ‘https//’ instead of ‘http//’. The payment processor available on an online store should also be safe and secure. Make sure you have the option to pay using a processor you are familiar with. For example, some people will only pay for products online through PayPal because it gives them the convenience, protection and reassurance they need from a modern payment processor.
Close all screens and turn off your computer when you are finished shopping
Leaving eCommerce screens open and not turning off your computer after shopping presents an opportunity for online and offline scammers. They can access your account or install viruses that have the potential to defraud you out of your money.
Keep records of all your transactions safe and secure
Many online stores sell thousands of products to thousands of online customers every day, ranging from a large product like a cooker for your kitchen to a smaller type of product like a portable vape for people giving up smoking. This means there will be mistakes made when people order products online. For the more established stores, it’s fairly rare, but it does happen. If there is a problem make sure you keep all of your digital receipts, credit card statements and other documentation related to a particular purchase. Once you have this proof, the merchant will have to admit that any problem with an order was their fault.
As well as this, make sure your online shopping account details and email address you use for shopping are secure. In some cases, scammers only need to be able to access your email in order to access your shopping accounts.
The internet, eCommerce stores, payment processors, broadband and a range of other technologies have changed the face of shopping today. Buying online is safer, more secure and more convenient than it has ever been. However, the phrase ‘buyer beware’ should always be taken into account when you buy online.