Most of us have embraced online shopping as part of our lifestyle. It offers a lot of comfort and convenience. Everything is available at a single click and it saves a lot of time, which you otherwise have to spend roaming on the streets or going to shopping malls. The delivery of the product is done at your doorstep. You feel delighted as your shopping experience is hassle-free.
But ever since the trend of online shopping has emerged, safety and security are major concerns. Online shopping goes much beyond browsing the lowest costing product and getting discounts. From clicking on the product to adding it to the cart and billing, you must access the secure connection (HTTPS) to ensure the security of the transaction, but the safety isn’t guaranteed always, especially with high risk businesses.
Recently cybercrime has reached to such an extent that each year the loss in terms of internet resources and money is increasing. According to Juniper’s research, the amount in 2019 has crossed $2 trillion. Of course, customers can be more careful while using credit cards and other payment methods. But what troubles online customers more is the security threat which is rising at a rapid rate.
The graph below shows the actual position of the online retail sector.
Guide to Safe Online Shopping
Keep reading to know the top 9 smart tips for safe online shopping:
1. Shop from trusted websites
The number of websites offering shopping features is multiplying at a fast rate. However, it is recommended to shop from trusted websites like Amazon, Flipkart and so on.
On the web, some businesses are fabricated on non-secure networks that grab your credit card details and personal information. However, when you shop from a big name company it is likely that they are built on secure networks.
The online shopping experience has become a culture now. In 2019 it measures a hike from 68% to 72%. The growth depicts that the majority have a satisfactory experience. Moreover out of 10 purchases, at least 4 are done from the Amazon or a big store like this. That means people trust these online shopping websites more than the individual stores.
2. Identify the Business Type
It is advisable that you must breakdown your purchase in parts whenever you are shopping from an unknown website. That doesn’t mean that the new websites or less popular websites are insecure.
But due to less popularity, they are more prone to hacks. Here the social media presence makes a lot of difference. If you are having a popular retail store, you can always check the customer’s reviews
You must take one more step by calling the online retail shop directly to know the details.
Verify the email address, phone number or address for a brick-and-mortar location to get satisfied before making a bulk purchase. This one step can save you from a potentially huge loss.
3. Always Compare Quality VS. Prices
Recently, seasonal shopping and heavy discounts on festivals have become a trend in online shopping. Though you can get a huge discount on different stores like Macy’s, NEIMAN MARCUS, ANN TAYLOR. The low prices always attract customers but often the quality of the goods is compromised. If the website is offering a big discount but the quality is not maintained and there are issues in shipping then it can become a worrisome task for you.
So, when you are selecting items, check the cost of shipping, discount offers, and the actual price. You must also compare the prices and check the quality of the competitor’s products.
4. Avoid public Wi-Fi
You must be habitual of doing shopping using public Wi-Fi to save your valuable time during travelling, shopping mall or enjoying a cup of coffee in a restaurant. You must be aware of the fact that whenever you make use of public Wi-Fi, you are revealing your personal information that hackers are looking for including credit card information and personal information. So, it’s better to use a private Wi-fi connection while making a purchase.
Also, always create a password that can’t be easily cracked. Using a special character and alphanumeric letter can strengthen your password. One more important point is never to allow system or credit information to be stored on the server.
5. VPN is a Secure Connection
For online shopping, establishing a VPN connection in your mobile and computer is still a safer solution. It provides a secure connection in the public domain for Wi-Fi accessibility. A VPN connection acts as a layer between your device and the VPN server. The encrypted information is transferred from the VPN server while you are browsing the internet or busy doing shopping. VPN is one of the easy to handle solutions to maintain security.
6. Don’t Get Trapped in Email Scams
Often something in your email in-box can stir your consumer cravings. For instance, it might be tempting to open an email that promises a “special offer.” But that offer could be special in a bad way. Clicking on emails from unknown senders and unrecognizable sellers could perpetuate your computer with viruses and malware. It’s better to play it safe. Delete them, don’t click on any links, and don’t open any attachments from individuals or businesses you are unfamiliar with.
7. Don’t give out too much information
No social website requires your personal information again and again for online billing. If the website is asking too much information then it is better to smartly switch over the website rather than providing the personal information.
For the same reason, people create wallets on websites like Amazon and shop from then rather than publishing actual bank account details every time you make a purchase.
8. Pay with a credit card
If someone racks up unauthorized charges on your credit card, federal regulations say you won’t have to pay while the card company investigates. Most major credit cards offer $0 liability for fraudulent purchases.
Keep in mind, your liability for unauthorized charges on your debit card is capped at $50 if you report it within two business days. But make sure to report if someone is using your credit or debit card illegally with a time slot of 40 days otherwise, you will become a defaulter of the bank.
You can also try a virtual credit card. Some banks offer this nifty tool that acts as an online version of your card. With a virtual credit card, the issuer will randomly generate a number that’s linked to your account, and you can use it anywhere online and choose when the number expires.
9. Track the details and ensure timely delivery of the order
Call the merchant and if the merchant turns out to be fake, or they’re just plain unhelpful, then your credit card provider can help you sort out the problem. Often, they can remove the charge from your statement.
If you find any mischievous activity during the billing or purchasing process, notify your credit card company about the charge and close your account.
It’s smart to practice safe online shopping and make your life easier with the comforts of online shopping which you can do 24/7, anywhere, anytime. But the holiday season doesn’t last forever. Make sure that you do smarter and safer shopping in the near future. After all, self-protection is the best protection, be it online or offline!