Online shopping is the emerging trend today. People find both thrill and comfort in making purchases without stepping out. However, with the ease of online purchases and sales come many other challenges. As a savvy buyer, you need to look out for certain key things that will allow you to get the most out of your money and also keep you safe while executing online purchases.
9 Must Follow Tips to Make Online Shopping Secure and Exciting
1 Use Secure Websites
With so many online stores and websites offering an array of products at affordable prices, it can be exciting to buy anything and everything you see. However, a smart buyer would make purchases only at secure websites. These are sites that make use of encryption technology, so that your personal and important information stays safe while it is being transferred to the site.
Better safe than sorry: always check out the URL of the website. It should begin with ‘https’. The‘s’ at the beginning of the URL is an indication that the website is secure. Some websites will show you the‘s’ only on the order page. One more way to check for secure websites is to look for a ‘padlock’ sign on the address bar of your browser. If the padlock is closed, it is a secure site. Shopping at these sites will make sure that your credit card number and other personal information cannot be hacked and misused by hackers during transmission.
2 Research, Research and More Research
Enough emphasis cannot be laid on researching a website before making a purchase. This is especially true for sites that you are not familiar with. Check the website thoroughly for legitimacy. A reliable and reputable online store will have no qualms about displaying its office address and phone number, so that potential customers can get in touch with the business. Stay away from websites that display PO Box Number or do not give their address.
3 Read Policy before Purchasing
A reliable website will always have privacy and security policies that will be highlighted on the site. So make sure you read the policy to find out how your personal information will be used. Sometimes online merchants share the information with third parties and you should be aware of this, as you may start receiving unsolicited emails from the third party.
4 Always Pay by Credit Card
People use a variety of way to make online purchases, including debit cards, cash payments, checks and credit cards. However, it always is best to make your online purchase using a credit card, as it will allow you to dispute unfair charges levied on your card. You also have the option of withholding payments made via credit cards while the creditor investigates your complain.
When unauthorized use of your card takes place, you will not be held responsible for the miscreant running up a huge bill. Avoid checks, cash payment and debit cards to make purchases, as they will leave you vulnerable to fraud and scams. Many scam websites will ask for money transfer using Western Union or MoneyGram. If you send money, that would be last you will hear from the website and there will be nothing you can do about it.
5 Avoid Becoming a Victim of Drip Pricing
Some websites, in order to lure customers, show a very low price. However, the total cost of the product, which is inclusive of many hidden charges is not shown until the purchase process completes. To protect yourself from becoming a victim of drip pricing, always read the policies before making a purchase. In case you have made a purchase using your credit card, you can dispute the extra charges if they were not made clear during the payment process.
6 Never Reveal Your Social Security Number
If an online website wants your Social Security Number, you should just close the site and look for another one. This information is never needed for online purchases and usually it is only scam websites that ask for the information. Giving your SSN can result in identity theft, and you will have to go through a long drawn process to resolve it.
7 Keep Your Password Safe
Most reputable online stores always ask shoppers to create an account before making a purchase. This will require you to create a username and password that allows you to enter your account and check the products that you are selecting. Always keep the password safe and try and use a password that is tough to crack. Do not create the same password for multiple sites.
8 Be Aware of Phishing Emails
Identity thieves use emails that look as though they have come from authentic sites, such as online stores, banks or credit card providers. These emails are called phishing emails and will often ask you to update your account information. If you do this, hackers and identity thieves will gain access to your account and your personal information. Do not click on any links in suspicious emails. Also, do not download any attachments from such emails.
9 Check Website URL
Make sure you check the URL of the website where you plan to make your online purchase. This will ensure you always make the purchase at the website you want to, rather than making a purchase on a fake site that mimics the original site with the aim of getting buyers’ personal and confidential information.
Get into the practice of considering the above mentioned facts to reap the great benefits that online shopping offers.