With the lockdowns in the last two years, shopping online has become a popular option to obtain both needs and gifts. According to retail data, more than 75% of people shop online every month, and you’re probably one of them now that the holiday season is here. However, don’t allow the allure of convenience overshadow the need to shop safely online.
The number of people purchasing digital content is rapidly increasing. According to Statista, over two billion individuals will have purchased products or services online by 2020. E-commerce sales worldwide topped $4.2 trillion in the same year, amounting to more than $1000 per adult!
Consumer behavior is changing, and retailers are adapting. But do you know who else is taking advantage of this situation? Cybercrooks. Consider these precautions before making a purchase.
#1 Do you have a lot of questions?
If an offer appears to be “too good to be true,” it most likely is. A new Apple laptop, the latest Beats headphones, or an Xbox game console will not be available for less than $20. Anyone who offers you that price is attempting to get you to their website in order to enter your credit card information, so don’t be surprised if your product never arrives!
These “deals” are frequently advertised online (hint: use an AdBlocker to block them!) and on Facebook Marketplace. Someone just advertised a brand new Apple laptop at 30% off the original price. When I phoned the seller (who appeared to be in Blenheim), they told me that I needed to speak with their manager. Their phone number was from Pakistan, and they had an image of a cellphone repair shop in Tauranga. I’m not interested, therefore I’ll pass.
#2 Look at the seller’s feedback.
You notice advertisements for excellent gifts for someone on your list while perusing through social media. It’s also quite simple to purchase by simply clicking the link! Still, do your homework on the vendor before making a purchase.
If all of the feedback is glowing 5-star reviews, you can be sure it’s phony or bought. Even with the best products or services, real people will have mixed results. It’s impossible to please everyone!
Check out reputable sources for comments from other buyers. Checking sites like Trustpilot and Google My Business takes only a few minutes.
#3 Do some research on the industry.
Consider this: who are you more inclined to entrust your personal information to? Is it better to hire someone who has been in business for ten years or someone who just opened their doors ten days ago? Check how long a company’s website has been up and running.
Many new Facebook pages have names that sound like popular retail establishments, but when you look at the page information, you’ll notice that they only have a few hundred or thousand likes. The page’s creation date will also be recent, as Facebook typically flags phony pages after a few days.
#4 Be wary of email frauds
Check the URL of any offer links in emails before clicking on them. You can check the target by hovering over the link before clicking on it. Double-check the address to be sure it’s the one you’re looking for.
Slow down and double-check that the address is free of errors and unusual endings. You don’t want to mix up www.nike.com and www.nlke.com and become an identity theft victim instead of the proud owner of the latest Air Max.
#5 Verify the payment site’s security.
There are various techniques to check a payment site’s security. These are some of them:
confirming that the site has an SSL certificate – the URL will begin with “https” rather than “http.” Because practically every website hosting provider now permits you to get an HTTPS (padlock) certificate, it’s no longer as important.
Checking for a physical address and phone number — call the phone number to make sure it isn’t a scam;
examining the Terms and Conditions, as well as the Return and Privacy Policies – any reputable brand should have these!
#6 Online Payments are accepted.
When you do decide to buy, use PayPal or another online payment method to complete the transaction. You will not provide the seller with your credit card information. If you can’t do this, use a credit card from a credit account instead of a debit card. This way, you’ll be better protected. When an item isn’t as promised and the seller’s customer care isn’t helpful, you can file a chargeback with your credit card provider.
Before you go online shopping at any time of year, make sure your operating system is up to date, as well as your anti-virus software. Do you require assistance? Please let us know!