The year 1995 marks the beginning of online shopping. The first buying and selling transaction on the internet occurred in 1994 on the Internet Shopping Network, in the UK. The very next year, Amazon and eBay opened their online stores. The rest is history.
Today a lot of people shop online. In the US alone, 76 percent of people shop online, among these online shoppers, 25 percent shop at least once a month and 16 percent shop once a week. That is according to a poll by Marist College and National Public Radio in 2019. Another figure published Internet Retailer, online shopping covered 14.2 percent market share in the United States.
All these figures point to the fact that online shopping is overtly increasing the world over. Like we all know a coin also has another face, the popularity of online shopping also increased the risks as online sellers and stores are increasingly trying to scam people of their money or steal their card details. This also brings to the conclusion that we need to be extra cautious while shopping online because we don’t exactly know who is the seller, we don’t know whether the product we are buying will be exactly the same as described on the shopping site, or look exactly same. We also don’t know whether the financial information we share is secured.
Whether you do a lot of online shopping or buy things online occasionally, you need to take care of some simple things so that you don’t get scammed or lose your financial details. Here are some online shopping safety tips that you should consider:
Do not buy online when you are using public wi-fi. Your data might be stolen.
When you are buying from an online store do some research online and make sure the store is legitimate. How do you find whether the store is legitimate or not? Here are some points to consider.
One of the best ways to stay safe while shopping online is buying online only through well-known sites like ebay, Amazon etc. However, there are a lot of independent online shopping sites. We don’t mean to say that all of these sites are counterfeit, however, if you have never used these sites and do not know anyone who has used these site, you need to do a lot of research. If you are buying from random sites, you need to check the site review. TrustPilot is a great place to check reviews. Also check the store location, shipping policy, return policy etc. Look for a padlock symbol next to the website address. Make sure the website address starts with https:// where s stands for secure.
The payment option is the most important thing to consider while buying online. When you use payment gateway like paypal, you do not have to reveal your bank or card details. Furthermore, you also have an option to file a dispute on PayPal if the seller tries to cheat you.
When you are buying an expensive item, make sure you are buying from the authorized seller or from the manufacturer’s website.
A lot of sellers and stores are also selling counterfeit goods. Generally speaking, it is really hard to find out whether the seller is selling original products or fake products. You can learn about product quality only when you receive it. However, you can take precautions. Don’t buy a product just because it is cheap. There is a high chance that it is a counterfeit product.
Sometimes scammers also copy the entire site and create a fake site. They might be using different variations of spelling or extension. Therefore, make sure you are on the correct site.
If you use updated antivirus, it is very likely that your antivirus will warn you in case you are on a phishing site. Also, use a strong password, and always use a different password on a different site.