By now for customers, it is becoming increasingly attractive and natural to shop from home. This is not in the least due to the basic conditions, which have a positive effect on online shopping behavior: The technology is user-friendly, the cost of broadband Internet has fallen and mobile devices have simply become indispensable in our everyday life. In addition, there is the omnipresent desire to benefit of comparisons and price advantages that make digital devices more than attractive, so take a look at the useful tips for safe online shopping:
- Consciously search for "secure site" indicators: Buyer should always look for the yellow padlock in the browsers, which indicates that a website is using SSL, an encryption technology that ensures that the data sent to the dealer is encrypted and secure. A website that uses an SSL certificate can in addition be recognized by the URL of the site that starts with "https" instead of the standard "http" of an unsecured site.
- Protect your privacy and identity: If your privacy is important for you, protect it to minimize the risk of identity theft during all your actions. When using websites that require to set up a user name and password as part of the purchase process, make sure to use combinations other than the one you use for banking, web mail or other accounts. If in your opinion they are asking too many details irrelevant for the actual purchase, such as details of bank account or date of birth, ask yourself why this information is collected, as for easy online buying they are usually not necessary.
- Always look out for potential scams: Beware of unbelievable offers by email, regardless of whether you know the dealer of these "offers". Phishers (impostors, who disguise themselves as a known company) send millions of emails every day and place thousands of online ads that offer the best "don’t miss out" deals. If you receive an email or equivalent online advertising, make sure to check the URL in the address bar of the browser. Be especially wary of IP addresses such as http://245.123.123.1/special-offer and email addresses or websites with a known brand name in conjunction with other letters or numbers.
- Use a secure payment method: Most credit cards offer buyer protection, so use it wherever it is possible. Debit cards and other payment methods generally offer less protection, as consumers must pay a damage incurred or litigation costs out of their own pocket. If the dealer does not accept credit cards, look for other secure payment methods such as PayPal.
- Get informed by means of additional details and store documents: Make sure that you know the complete address of the seller, especially if that one is abroad. Review the shipping and returns policy thoroughly, as this information will help when problems with the delivery of the purchased items occur.
Consumers opt for online shopping, because it seems to be quick and easy. In addition, there are numerous opportunities for comparison and price advantages. Therefore it is all the more important for buyers to heed these practical advices when shopping online to stay as safe as possible from falling for scams.
By Daniela La Marca