Online Shopping Safety Tips

Lifestyle

Whether it’s the convenience of buying items from the comfort of your home or simply the wonderful deals and discounts you can’t seem to find in physical stores, shopping online has become an incredibly popular option, particularly in the last couple of years. However, with its rise in popularity also came a rise in cybercrime, with plenty of internet scammers aimed at stealing money and personal data. Thankfully, there are still ways you can ensure your security and protection while shopping online; just follow these crucial online shopping safety tips:

Start with basic internet security

When shopping online, it’s best to adhere to the same internet safety practices you would normally use to stay secure and protected. This means using anti-virus software and making sure it’s updated, for instance, as well as choosing a strong password for your accounts that will help to keep you safe from potential hackers.

Similarly, always ensure the Wi-Fi network you are using while shopping is as safe as possible. Choose your internet connection at home, or even your mobile data, as both of these options are more secure than any public Wi-Fi, which you should never use for websites that require any sort of personal information.

Research the website beforehand

Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash

If you are using a new platform you aren’t familiar with, there are several ways you could find out whether the website is safe, such as ensuring that their URL starts with https:// or that there’s a padlock symbol next to the website’s address. You could also do a quick Google search to find out what type of reviews the company has received in the past.

Another thing you could do is check the website’s delivery times and returns policies. For example, deliveries with the US or Europe shouldn’t normally take over a week, as long as their items are in stock. When it comes to returns policies, make sure the website has a clear and comprehensive one, to ensure you are protected in case of damaged or undelivered goods.

Opt only for safe and secure platforms

If you aren’t quite sure whether the website is truly secure or not, it might be a better option to search those same items directly on a brand’s or manufacturer’s website, as they tend to be a safer option. Similarly, you could opt for well-known international platforms like Amazon or eBay, which are known for being secure and having good company policies.

However, if you don’t want to wait for international deliveries or pay for shipping costs and additional fees, aim to find a secure platform in your home country. Every destination has some safe options such as the reliable Shoppster website, where you could buy anything from clothing items to home appliances in a safe and secure manner.

 

Choose the best payment options

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When shopping online, using a credit card is always a smarter option than a debit card, as most banks will offer some form of credit card protection for medium and larger purchases. This will then allow you to ask your card provider for a refund in case anything goes wrong with internet shopping.

Using safe third-party services such as PayPal, Apple Pay and Google Pay might also be a good option. These services will allow you to make purchases without giving away any personal information directly to the shop or seller, while also having good protection policies set in place.

Know what to do in case of fraud

If you were using a safe and reliable platform for your purchases, the first thing you should do if you receive the wrong or damaged item, or if it doesn’t arrive at all, is to contact the website directly. In most cases, secure shopping platforms will be able to resolve your issue in a timely manner.

If you aren’t satisfied with the website’s response, however, then ask the payment service or your card provider for help, depending on which you used.  In case you notice any fraudulent activity on your accounts, contact your bank immediately, as they will most likely be able to stop the transactions and offer a refund.

With cybercrime continuously on the rise, shopping online can come with a number of safety and security concerns, no matter where you are. But as long as you adhere to the valuable advice mentioned above, you can ensure a safe and convenient shopping experience.

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Claire Hastings
Claire Hastings is a design student, wanderer, and a writer. She writes as long as she can remember, and she is very passionate about fashion, running, other cultures, and her cat.

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