Tips for A Safer Online Shopping Experience
Updated on April 24, 2021 | by Evan Chase
The number of online shoppers in the world was estimated to be around 1.92 billion in the year 2019. There has been a considerable increase in the number of online shoppers over the years. The online shopping market size is expected to hit the 4 trillion mark by the end of this year.
However, it is crucial for e-commerce websites and online stores to offer a safe online shopping experience to internet users. Most online shoppers will prefer not to buy products from stores that do not promote secure shopping practices.
The Rising Popularity of Online Shopping
There is no denying that we all love to shop online. The convenience and comfort offered by online shopping and other perks like next-day deliveries and getting access to more information about products have urged most of us to shop online instead of visiting online stores.
According to the FBI’s IC3 (Internet Crime Complaint Center), the most commonly reported cybercrime in 50 states of the country was online-shopping related. For instance, several online shoppers reported non-delivery or nonpayment for services and goods.
Several customers who are shopping online are often concerned regarding their safety. Therefore, online stores and e-commerce websites must ensure a smooth and safe online experience to users. Here are a few tips for a better and safer online shopping experience.
Check Website Security
One of the most critical factors you should consider before buying products from a website is its security. Savvy online shoppers usually avoid using credit cards on websites without SSL certificates.
SSL has become a security standard for not just shopping sites but also for non-shopping ones. Shopping websites must invest in a cheap SSL certificate to ensure a secure shopping experience for users. It ensures encryption of the communication between client-server and browser. Therefore, hackers cannot sniff personally identifiable information (PII) such as credit card, debit card details.
Shop with Reputable Retailers
Search results can take you to different websites, especially if you go past the first two search results pages. In some cases, you will end up at unfamiliar websites while searching for specific products. If you have not heard about the website or online store, it is best to shop with a reputed and famous website.
Popular online stores and marketplaces usually contain everything under the sun. In simple words, it is always best to buy products from reputable retailers and legitimate websites.
Vet New to You Businesses
We all often spot unique products from new businesses or sellers. It does not matter how good the product is; you should check whether the seller is legitimate or not before buying a product. So, check if you can see reviews about the seller online.
If there are any reviews, look for the seller’s contact number and get in touch with them to verify that they are legitimate. You will find the contact number of most businesses on their website or social media platforms.
Beware of Amazing Deals
You may often come across offers and deals that may seem too good to be true. It is crucial to remember that limited-time deals and crazy deals can be scams. Some online shoppers act recklessly in hopes of saving money or getting a good deal.
Instead of making a quick decision, you should stay calm, check the links, read the fine print, and verify the deal’s details before making a buying decision.
Don’t Browse on Public Wi-Fi And Use A VPN
Every one of us wants to know that our personal information is safe and protected when shopping online. This is why it is best to avoid online shopping through public Wi-Fi networks found in libraries, cafes, and airports.
Shopping through a private and secured Wi-Fi connection will give you an additional layer of protection. If you are shopping online through a public network, it is best to use a VPN, as it will create an encrypted tunnel between the server and your computer.
Pick Strong Passwords
If you want to ensure that your personal information is secured, it is best to use complex and lengthy passwords. Lengthy passwords are tough to crack. Besides that, online shoppers must also use different passwords for different websites to ensure greater security when shopping online.
Most e-commerce websites will surely ask you to share a few pieces of information to complete the product purchase. However, you should provide only the details they need. It is important to note that online shopping companies or businesses will not need your date of birth or social security number.
If the fields for entering phone numbers or addresses are optional, then you should skip these fields without any second thoughts. Always remember that sharing too much information can put you at higher risk.
Beware of Email Scams
Most of us often get texts and promotional emails with attractive offers and bargains. However, there is a chance that these are emails sent by scammers.
So, suppose you see any suspicious messages or emails from unfamiliar people. In that case, you should not click the links or open the attachments in them, as they may infect your phone or computer with malware or viruses.
Skip Debit Card
You should avoid using debit cards to make online purchases and use credit cards instead. This is mainly because credit cards will not give sellers direct access to your money.
Another added benefit of using credit cards is their zero-dollar liability for fraud policy. This means that if a hacker uses the card to make a purchase, the credit card company will investigate the activity, ask questions, and give you a new card.
Add Extra Security with A Virtual Credit Card
If you want to add an additional security layer when shopping online, you should consider using a virtual credit card. Using a temporary card will allow you to shop online without showing the credit card details to sellers.
Track Your Stuff
Once you have made an online purchase, it is essential to track your order to ensure that it has been shipped and delivered to your address. If the seller refuses to share shipping information or does not respond to your messages, get in touch with your credit card company to see if you can cancel the payment.
You will not fall prey to scam attacks if you strictly follow the tips mentioned above for a safer online shopping experience. However, if you get scammed or become a victim of ID theft, file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center as soon as possible.