How To Safely Shop Online

Online shopping can be a bit overwhelming especially during the days when deals are being offered by almost every website in existence. This also leaves you vulnerable to bad players (online scammers) lurking on the net and waiting for you to make a mistake that they can capitalise on. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not just the bad players that can cause harm but it also helps if you’re bit cautious and follow few rules to keep yourself safe.

We’ve listed down few measures that you can take to ensure you don’t end up having a bad experience while shopping online.

Use Credit Card or Paypal:

It is always safer to use credit card compared to a debit card as credit card offers additional protection in case the product fail to arrive or if is not as described. If you don’t own a credit card then we would recommend signing up for PayPal and paying through it as PayPal provides similar protection for online purchases.

Check final total before checkout

Sometimes you’d come across a deal too good to be true on a genuine website and in the excitement may miss checking final total. You need to check the final total properly before checkout to ensure that the quantity is right and that the shipping cost is not too exorbitant and does not exceed the original product price without discount.

Ensure you’re using Secure checkouts

When you’ve decided on what to buy and filled your online basket with goodies the next stage is to check out. This is when you provide your personal like shipping address and phone number. The next step is where you provide credit card details. When you’re on this page ensure that it provides an encrypted checkout and that you see a green padlock in the URL space (webaddress). We recommend running miles from any site not providing an encrypted checkout even if it is the product you’ve been saving for.

Setup Alerts

All banks now have online banking available and in most cases they also provide mobile banking. There would be a feature that allows you to opt-in for notifications (email or text alert or onscreen notification on mobile) that is sent to you as soon as there’s a purchase made of certain amount with your card. This will alert you of anything unusual that you may think is potential scam purchase using your account

Phishing emails

You’re likely to receive numerous offers during the sale season. You need to be alert about the emails you receive and who you receive them from. It is likely that a scammer is sending email about an irresistible offer and will run away with your money as soon as you provide your details online by clicking their link. Always check senders email address (not just the name) and if it looks suspicious to you in any way then it is advised you mark the email as spam/junk

Be wary of details you share online

Some of the phishing scams mentioned above may request additional information like your date of birth, mother’s maiden name, card PIN etc. While your shipping address and your name is required for purchase other personal information is not required especially your card PIN. This could be a someone after your card details by posing to be a shop. Be alert about such information request and stay away from such sites.

Manage your online passwords 

It is difficult to remember all passwords you create for online shopping. However it is important you create different accounts using different passwords and store them in a password manager to ensure your account is not compromised. There’re free password managers like Keepass that’ll do the job just well.