Tips for Safer Online Shopping

Photo of shopping cart Photo by leeser -

The holiday season is just upon us. It’s the time when businesses experience a significant increase in sales. With eCommerce, this traditional boost of shopping activities during festive holidays gets wings. Last year, more than 1.6 billion people bought goods worth of around $ 1.9 trillion online.

These statistics are a clear manifestation that online shopping is not a fringe business activity anymore. An along with any lucrative market comes the darkside - the thieves, scammers and unscrupulous individuals working to get their ‘cut’ in this money making industry. Today’s technology enables fraudsters to use a large variety of methods to defraud people who purchase items or services online.

According to reported data, online shopping fraud has increased by 33% in 2016, as compared to 2015 and for 2017, early projections indicate even a higher percentage of scams worldwide. Therefore, it is a responsibility of every individual shopper to be on guard and protect himself/herself from getting ripped off through these illegal and unconventional methods. In this article, we will guide you with useful tips and practices to have a safer and secure online shopping experience.

Pay Through Credit Cards Instead of Debit Cards

A general safe practice of doing online shopping is to pay through credit cards instead of debit cards. There are two significant reasons behind this preference:

  • Credit Cards are not linked to whatever amount you have in your bank account. Therefore, in case of any cyber crime activity where your card gets compromised, your entire balance will not be in the grab of criminals.
  • Secondly, most of the credit cards have limited monetary liability on customers in any case of theft or misuse of the card.

So, always prefer credit card payments over debit cards if you have both, because the earlier option is comparatively safer.

Pay Through Secure Online Payment Services

Many online shopping platforms give customers a facility to pay through a third party payment service. These payment services act as a liaison where you make payments to them and then they relay them to the ventures. The benefit of paying through these services such as PayPal and Google Wallet is that your banking details remain unseen to the online shopping websites.

So, prefer to do your shopping from these online platforms providing an option to make payments through secure third party channels.

Be Wary of Dodgy Websites

Many shoppers especially new to the reality of online shopping and ecommerce become the target of scammers through dodgy websites. There are two very definitive features of such online scams:

  • The URL of these websites doesn’t use SSL protocols to encrypt the information that is being transmitted online, which means your banking card details can easily be compromised on these web pages. All websites without the prefix of “https” are unsecure for entering any financial details.
  • To lure consumers into their trap, these websites use offers of extraordinary discounts and complimentary items. Don’t get flattered by all such offers and do a quick search about the actual price of the item you are interested to become a victim of an online shopping scam.

Also, avoid shopping from websites not dealing in established and reliable brands because they might be selling the products not worth the paid amount.

Avoid Using Public Hotspots

Public WiFi and hotspots have become a part of modern lifestyle. Whether it is café or any other commercial public space, people are now accustomed to use complimentary internet. But there are some perils of using this free internet (that we will discuss in later article).

The simple reason to not use them for online shopping is to protect your confidential financial information from getting skimmed. Since public hotspots are used by numerous unknown users at once and therefore they remain susceptible to get hacked.

Use a private internet connection when you are ordering anything online. For example, mobile phone networks are ideal to make transactions for online shopping.

You can also make your online shopping secure by setting up strong and hard to crack passwords for online shopping accounts. Also try to avoid having same password for all the different websites. By practicing all these not-so-difficult measures, you can make your online shopping activity safe and scam-proof.

Posted On December 28, 2017