Online Shopping: Is It Safe?
If the Internet shopping market has grown increasingly popular in the last decade, so has fraud opportunities. Even though it can potentially be dangerous, people buy and sell items and services everyday. The key to the solution is to know how to protect ourselves. Here are 6 tips for safer online shopping:
1. Before buying from a website, search around about its reputation.
Of course, huge sites like eBay or Amazon have a well-built reputation. But some other sites you might want to buy from will very likely be less known. To be safe, go on Google and search for “reviews” + the name of the website. Check a few links and you’ll be set.
2. Make sure the connection is encrypted when paying.
There is two way to do this. The first one is to check if the address of the payment page starts with “https” and not “http”. The second possibility is to look at the address bar or the status bar; there should be a lock icon.
3. Check credit card records and statements. Double check them until you’re sure nothing has been charged in extra, in an existing transaction or a new one.
4. Read store policies. Before clicking “I Agree”, check out what their rules look like and what the return and refund policies are.
5. Try not to do any transactions on a public computer. It’s possible that you will forget to close your session or that you are being watched. Depending on where you are, there might also be viruses, spywares or keyloggers (program that record everything that is typed) in the computer. Take the time to shop from your own computer.
6. Use PayPal. PayPal has a solid reputation in online payments. It offers warranties and is 100% safe. If you can choose, select PayPal over mailing money, checks or direct bank transfers.