Safe ways to shop online

Shopping online was born for different reasons. Innovation, the need to save time, convenience, and many more factors are making online shopping very popular. The Covid-19 pandemic and its need to have fewer numbers of people in a space at the same time have also made shopping online popular. However, there are some risks involved in shopping online and this article provides safe ways to shop online.

The existence of scammers cannot be denied. They pose as online vendors just to exploit people. Some even go as far as creating websites and online stores. They convince people to pay for a product or service and never deliver it, or they deliver substandard products. Some of these vendors also steal the customers’ details and use them for other fraudulent activities. To avoid these and many more unpleasant sad experiences, here are some tips on safe ways to shop online.

1. Buy from trusted vendors:

If you have to make a purchase over the internet, it should be from a site or a vendor you trust. This is one of the safe ways to shop online. Yea!! I get your silent objection. Trust does not come easily, especially for strangers. Valid point!!! Now, back to the topic. How do you know a vendor that can be trusted? How can a legit site be identified?

  • Read Reviews:

Whether it’s a WhatsApp vendor or a big e-commerce firm, there are always reviews. Reviews on that vendor or store can be found through a quick web search. Now, to determine the authenticity of the review, the following questions can be a guide. What do the reviews say? Who is writing the reviews? Some vendors get bots to drop automatic reviews on their sites. An authentic review should be balanced. Some reviews could be unsatisfactory, and others satisfactory. That’s what makes it a balanced review.

  • Familiarity:

Brands you’re familiar with. You know, there are some brands that have built a trustworthy and credible presence over the years and planted themselves in the heart of the people. People become familiar with the brand, and it becomes a go-to when their services are needed. Use such brands for your online shopping. There is an awareness that some of these trusted brands allow third-party vendors, but there is also a relaxing feeling of knowing that such brands are cautious and careful about the type of vendors they let on their sites.

2. Ensure you are on the correct and secure site:

Knowing that people prefer trusted vendors, some scammers make a pseudo site. The site usually looks like the original, especially if the buyer is not paying much attention to details. They could change some alphabets, duplicate some, or send emails with fake links that redirect the user to their pseudo site.

To avoid this, take the following precautions.

  • Make sure the padlock is visible

On the address bar, there is a padlock icon. A closed padlock indicates a secure website, an open padlock means the site can not be trusted.

  • Confirm if its HTTP or HTTPS on the address bar

Sites with ‘HTTP’ are not secure. The information sent on the website is not secure. On the other hand, ‘HTTPS’ is secure and information sent to the such site is private.

  • Make sure the link is the correct one

People usually fall for this by clicking on links directly from emails. Fraudsters send promotional emails and advice that people click on certain links to get a discount or any other juicy offer. Clicking on such links redirects to a pseudo site, very similar to the main site. Unsuspecting customers input payment details, and personal information and even make payments to such fake sites.

Admittedly, brands also send promotional emails to customers, prompting them to click certain links. A good way to verify the genuineness of an offer is by typing out the web address yourself. The chances of making a mistake are lower, and it guarantees you’re on the right site. If the offer is on the main site, congratulations!!!!! If it’s not, you shouldn’t spend an extra minute on that site.

3. Do not open suspicious promotional emails.

Even if curiosity compels you to click on the link, do not take action until you can verify that the mail is authentic. Do not input your card details on links that pop up from such emails. If you have to open such and make payments, input the address yourself on the browser, and ensure the processes listed in No 2 are followed. Most times, fraudsters change or remove an alphabet on the address to make it look similar to unsuspecting folks. From there, they steal card details and also divert payments to other accounts.

4. Avoid extravagant offers

An offer that seems too good to be true, is most likely a scam. Avoid such!!! Such offers could be bait to get people’s details or money, without providing the product or service. If the products are delivered, they could most likely be substandard.

5. Shop in private, not in public protect your card details

It is safer to shop in private places instead of public places. Shopping in public exposes you to the risk of people spying and seeing your details. These details could be used to exploit or carry out fraudulent activities.

In summary, authentic brands go the extra mile to put things in place to ensure customers have a safe shopping experience. Any brand that does not have the right protections on its sites, should not be regarded as legit. While the brand does its, part, it is also important that buyers do their parts. Do not shop in public, protect your details, do research on the brand, and ensure the offers are moderate.

Shopping online is highly connected with making payments online. Read this to learn more about making payments online.

I trust that reading this article has taught you new safe ways to shop online.

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