Tips for Safe Online Shopping

By Robert Lear posted 08-18-2020 11:30 AM


Online shopping has revolutionized business for merchants and consumers alike, increasing sales volume and providing a pleasant customer experience. The recent COVID-19 pandemic restrictions helped entrench online shopping in the general population, with many businesses turning to digital platforms to reach their customers. 

Although the internet has a history of scams and issues of security for personal information that may raise concerns for online shopping safety, improvement in technology and superior software has greatly minimized this threat in recent years. 

Shop on known sites

To avoid falling prey to internet hackers, always make it a policy to shop on a few but trusted online stores. However, if you need to buy a product from some other unfamiliar website, check their SSL encryption status in the URL that should have HTTPS – the S at the end being the determiner. 

A locked padlock icon to the left of this URL is a further confirmation that the site is secure and that transactions are safe. 

Keep personal information safe

Be wary of websites that ask for more information than is necessary for a simple business transaction. Of what use is the knowledge of a customer’s birthday and social security number before selling a simple online software app to them? 

When an online e-tailer starts asking for such information, it is time to click a quick exit before exposing oneself to fraudsters.

Beware when the deal is too good

Unless you have just landed from outer space, you definitely have an idea of the price range for the products you seek. No one expects a 75% discount unless a company is shutting down and the sale is simply about stock clearance. 

Avoid items priced ridiculously low as they could be intended to entice you into a fraudulent transaction. A little check at, an online, on-demand product review site run by Nifty Nev, should help you avoid this trap.

Have alternative communication

It is always a good idea and a measure of caution to have readily available the site’s customer service information. You must have their toll-free customer care number, email address, or any of their social media contacts in case you need to reach them urgently. 

One more thing you need to understand before any transaction is the company’s refunds, returns, and exchange policies in the event you are not satisfied.

Always scrutinize your credit card statement

Always carefully check every debit on your credit card statement against the prices you paid for online purchases. 

This protects you from losses that may be due to hidden charges that were not disclosed at the time of purchase or debits unknown to you. Should you find such debits on the statement, you can justifiably lodge a complaint and claim for a refund from the store.

Create strong passwords

Most people make the mistake of using one password across all their accounts and devices apparently for the convenience of easier retention. 

However, this exposes you to online hackers should log in information on one site get compromised as this can be used to access all other accounts. Use strong and different passwords for each shopping site for added safety.

Avoid using public hotspots

Public hotspots in cafes or any other space are a favorite hunting ground for online hackers looking to steal identity and personal information. 

Use a private virtual network when out in public to protect your credentials or wait until you reach home to use a secure Wi-Fi connection. One final thing, avoid clicking on pop-up ads when online to avoid phishing.