Buying Online is becoming more and more sophisticated with each passing day leading to advances that optimize the way people communicate, interact, work and purchase goods. However, people’s ingenuity focused on finding new ways to take advantage of this technology in combination with their trusting nature has resulted in new realities. Some examples include recent breaches to business and political institutions using such methods as phishing scams and social engineering deceptions. Hackers (opportunistic hijackers of information) use various channels to reach their victims ranging from telephone, email, websites and even snail mail. This article will look a little deeper into how you can avoid being victimized by malicious activities perpetrated by hackers. Below are things to consider before buying online.
Security and safety
Security is paramount in safe guarding your financial profile but also your most intimate information. Before purchasing online it is important, and sometimes crucial, to avoid trivializing the security measures taken by websites.
- Does your computing device have an antivirus? Install antivirus, anti spyware on your computer or mobile device
- Looking at the address bar of your browser and confirming there is a green security symbol next to the URL and that it begins with “https://” helps confirm a site’s security.
- You may also want to confirm the website is PCI compliant, an accreditation set by major credit card vendors to confirm that the website manages credit card information in a safe and secure manner.
- Create strong passwords
- Avoid public terminals and public wifi
Credibility and Authenticity of the website
Confirming an entity’s credibility is another important factor to consider. There are many online sites that are created for the sole purpose of gathering end user information such as emails, passwords, secret security questions and answers in an effort to exploit and use this information to gain access to even more personal and private information.
- One way to verify an online company’s credibility is to validate that they have a historical presences eliminating the notion that they could be a fly-by-night operation.
- You can also do a simple search regarding any reviews for that same company and confirming that a third-party vendor has labeled the company as a trusted entity, such as “Google Trusted Stores”. Some of these third party seals also provide additional consumer protection against possible fraud.
- Check out the product description carefully for all specifications and details
- Check the product reviews
- Check sellers overall reputation
- Clarify with seller on any questions if such option is available
- Check the FAQs’ on the product
Price and Delivery Period
This subject is simple to write about. Consumers expect clear and unambiguous sales policies. That means that the product sold on a website needs to be priced clearly and that any additional fees be outlined in a clear manner. This is of greatest importance to the inexperienced shopper who presumes that he/she is dealing in transparency while surprises are lurking ahead. Deceptive merchants are at times very obvious with their tactics and on other occasions can be quite covert about it. Some of the tactics may include hidden fees described as processing fees, insurance and handling or variations of these.
- Price Comparison: Compare pricing of similar products between different websites
- Check for offers and coupons from sites like Coupons and Deals, Promotions and Coupons
- Check other discounts and cashback from banks and Wallets.
- Never email or give your credit or debit card information with cvv code to the seller
- Returns and Cancellation Policies: Sometimes, your goods may get damaged while in transit. What happens with these goods? Do you get a replacement? Who pays for the transport of the goods back to the warehouse? These are some of the questions that you should always ask yourself.
Customer reviews and ratings
Finally, when people are buying things online, they always want to know what other people are saying about the online store. They want to know how friendly the staff is and generally how easy it is to do business on the site.
- Read product reviews