Life

How to safely shop online

August 20, 2015

The digital revolution has changed our lives in many ways. It can actually feel overwhelming trying to keep up with how fast the world is changing.

One change some people are reluctant to fully adopt is doing their shopping online. Why don’t more people switch over to online shopping?

Many are concerned about the safety of shopping online. And there is good reason to. You can’t go giving out all your personal details all over the Internet, especially your banking information.

Check out your seller

If you buy from a well-known and reputable seller, like Amazon, you can rest assured that your information is safe. This doesn’t mean that you can’t buy from smaller, lesser known merchants as well though. Just make sure they are legit. Find their contact details on the website, preferably a phone number and not just an email address, and get in touch to suss out their customer service. If you struggle to get in touch with them, that’s a red warning sign.

Do a Google search to find reviews of the seller in question. If other customers have had hassles, that will likely be voiced somewhere. Also, have a careful read through of their security and privacy policies. If they don’t make much of an effort in that regard, that’s another flag.

Look for security measures

Don’t enter your information if you don’t see that additional “s” in the URL behind http, which stands for secured. It’s present when your browser detects encryption software in place to encode data to prevent thieves from stealing private information in transit. Also look out for a lock icon in the address bar.

Use a credit card…

Credit cards are safer to use than debit cards, personal cheques, or wire transfers, because if there is a charge on your bill that doesn’t look like it should be there, you have the right to dispute it. Just make sure you go over the terms and conditions of your credit card provider.

…Or PayPal

An online payment service like PayPal is a popular route to go because of its convenience and security. PayPal acts as a middleman where the identities of both supplier and buyer are screened to ensure protection for all involved.

Shop from a protected computer

Avoid shopping from Internet cafes or open “free Wi-Fi” networks. For instance, a public pc could have a keylogger that tracks your credit card number or password. Only shop from computers that you know have updated security software installed. If you use your smartphone or tablet, ensure you have security software that will allow you to deactivate your device if you lose it.

The good news is that by arming yourself with a little practical knowledge, you can shop online securely and enjoy all the benefits thereof. Online shopping is fast, cost-effective and oh so convenient. You might be surprised just how convenient. You can order your weekly groceries online and get them delivered. Combine your travel with your shopping so you buy something like duty free perfume online before you even get to the airport, and simply get your goods delivered to you while on the plane.

What’s more, the Internet offers the consumer an abundance of choices, which can be reviewed and compared with merely a few mouse clicks.

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