Online shopping has never been as simple and affordable as nowadays. A huge variety of goods and fast delivery made this shopping method very convenient for customers. However, keep in mind that there are a lot of scammers operating on the Internet. And in order to protect yourself, remember these simple yet very effective rules which can help make your online purchases safe.
1. Start with well-known companies
If you do not have any experience in online shopping, try popular and well-known websites, rather than use search engines. There is a chance that you may stumble upon scammers when searching the product you need on the Internet. When shopping on such websites like Amazon, eBay or AliExpress you’ll have more protection and can be sure that your personal information is not going to become available to anyone. Moreover, large online hypermarkets have huge assortment where you can find anything you need.
Well-known online stores are safer
2. Always check the address of the website
Even though it is much safer to use verified online stores, you should still be careful and pay close attention to the address of the webpage. Often scammers create fake websites that mimic famous companies with the sole purpose to get your money. For example, many users suffered from shopping through a fake eBay website. Customers entered their credit card details and other personal data, which allowed scammers to steal their funds.
Every time you decide to make purchases over the Internet, pay attention to the address of the website. Unlike the appearance of the page, it cannot be faked. If you like using a smartphone when shopping, download the apps only through the official stores like App Store and Google Play.
Also, do not neglect the fact which domain the website is using. For instance, it can be example.net instead of example.com. This is one of the oldest tricks, which is still being conducted by some of the scammers.
Use only official mobile applications
3. Understand the difference between http and https protocols
Never buy anything online with your credit card on the website which does not use SSL certificates. When you load the page, your browser interacts with a server on which the site is located. The server and the browser exchange different data.
If an online store uses the http protocol, the data between your browser and the website will be transferred unencrypted. In this case, a cyber-criminal can intercept your credit card, password and login details by using special hardware and software. Later the scammer can use this information to his advantage.
Take a look at your browser address bar. Any secure website starts with https//. The Google browser also shows a green lock, which means that all information will be encrypted.
4. Use complex passwords
Use only strong passwords with a number of senseless symbols on every website, where you make online purchases. Avoid simple passwords, such as names of your relatives or pets.
Passwords like “12345”, “password” and “qwerty” are the leaders among the most popular combinations each year. Scammers know that and actively use this knowledge in their “business”. Take the time to come up with a really complex password. It will save you money and keep from an unnecessary stress.
Come up with a complex password
5. Do not share your login information
Consider your login information (login, password) as the “keys to your house” and do not share it with anyone. It is also best not to log in to your account from other people’s devices. First of all, the owner might lose his gadget. And second of all, you can never be sure that this device does not contain any viruses. By the way, this rule also applies to an authorization code you may receive via e-mail or message. If the seller asks you to tell him this code, it may be a sign of a scam.
6. Too cheap price should be alarming
Be careful with very “good” deals. Some online stores can attract buyers with a very low price on certain goods. For example, if you come across an iPad for $200 and know that Apple store sells it 3-4 times more expensive, this is an obvious fraud. Perhaps you will simply get a very poor-quality gadget. Worse scenario, if the object of the scammer will be your credit card number, password or any other confidential information.
To understand the price limits of a particular product use online price guides, which show the average prices of selected products.
Do not get fooled by a cheap price
7. Pay attention
You do not have to answer all the questions that are mentioned in the application form when you make a purchase. Try to give as little information as possible. If the “birth date” field is not required, leave it blank. Scammers can harm you if they simultaneously receive your birth date and credit card number.
Check the receipts. Most of the times, you receive a letter to your e-mail address immediately after the purchase is made. Check the information and compare it to the data from your online banking account. If you notice that something is wrong, call your bank. The operation performed through the credit card can still be disputed.
8. Your computer must be protected
Make sure that your computer is sufficiently protected and at least some anti-virus software is used. Try to shop online only when using your personal computer. It is also better not to make online purchases while using a public Wi-Fi network, for example, in a café.
Protect your computer
9. Do not open or answer questionable letters
Often scammers use e-mail to obtain your personal information. Never send your credit card number by e-mail, even if the name of the company matches the one where you have already purchased something.
10. Search for reviews from previous customers
In case you decided to make a purchase through an unfamiliar online store, it is better to double check all the information about this platform. Go to “contacts” and copy the legal name of the company, since it not always matches the name of the website. Then google it and search for reviews from previous customers.
There are also several online platforms where people publish information about unscrupulous sellers. Spend a few minutes and if you did not find any negative reviews, then it is worth trying the service of a particular online store.