Its holiday season. Time to buy Christmas and New Year gifts for your loved ones. You go online and you find plenty of offers for products that you may never find in your local area. You would have ordered it online, but you are afraid of shopping online for fear of hackers and online identity theft. Now, if you are paranoid of shopping online, here are some tips to avoid dangers of online shopping.
E-Commerce reached 1 trillion in sales for the first time in 2012, 4.5 trillion in 2013 and following an increasing trend in 2014. Adding to this, the easiness to shop from mobile devices is also contributing to increased sales. This has also lead to a whole new generation of hackers, identity thieves and malicious programmers who wants to steal a chunk from these huge online transactions. But keeping yourself safe from these potential threats is not that difficult if you do it right.
Here are some tips to avoid dangers of online shopping
Never shop using an unprotected device
Always keep your computer, laptop and other mobile device protected from potential malware and security threats. If the device is not properly protected, never initiate an online transaction from that device.
- Keep your operating system and your mobile device updated with latest updates to make sure it is protected from all the potential loop holes.
- Make sure you install a complete security suite which involves protection from online transactions and keep it updated to protect against latest threats
Check if the website is genuine
Better the reputation of a website, better is your chance to have a pleasant online shopping experience. Websites like Amazon, eBay, Overstock, Shopzilla etc are some names synonymous with online shopping.
There are plenty of websites out there which may not have a huge reputation, but are providing online services. Lot of them are genuine, but check the seller reputation before ordering online. A simple google search is all it needs to find its authenticity. Also check customer reviews to find about the quality of the product and the service level from the seller.
Check if payments are done through secured connection
When it’s time to enter your user ID/ password, social security number or credit card details, check if the link starts with “https” other than the normal “http”. http stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol and s stands for secure. The information that is transmitted from https page is encrypted and secured. If the page “do not have an https”, the information that is passed through the page is not secured and hackers can get into your details.
Note: “https” need not appear on all web pages inside a website. Only the pages, which need critical information such as social security number or credit card/debit card need to be starting with “https”.
Check if the website offers “Cash on Delivery”
Many times you might come across website which may not have a huge reputation online, but they have specific products that you need to buy desperately. A safer bet to do shopping on these sites is to check if they have COD or Cash on Delivery. This way, you don’t have to enter your social security number or credit card details. Just give them the delivery address and pay ready cash on receiving the product.
Check customer reviews before buying a product
Before buying any product, check the review from those who already bought the same product. This not only give you an idea about the quality of product that you are going to purchase, but also about the quality of service from a particular seller. Even in websites like eBay, Amazon etc, there are sellers who do poor in shipping the product.
Check warranty, guarantee and return policies
Lot of online shoppers don’t do this. You need to read the websites return policy, their guarantee / warranty terms. Ordered products might become faulty, damaged or wrongly delivered. Most websites offer a 30 day return policy. To avail guarantee/warranty, you need to make sure the eBill is provided by the seller or website. In case, if the manufacturer refuse to provide guarantee for products from other website, check with the vendor if they provide guarantee.
Keep the above things in mind before shopping online. You should be good to go. Have a safe online shopping experience! Wish you all Happy Christmas and New Year with your loved ones.