Online shopping is the obvious answer for all those individuals who simply despise queues, busy shopping centers, traffic and noises. The beauty of online shopping lies in the fact that you can take advantage of the best bargains without needing to move from the comforts of your sofa. However, this doesn’t mean that online shopping is without its pitfalls. As a matter of fact, some people consider them to be too deep and stick to traditional shopping methods. The good news is that it pays to take precautions and protect yourself when you are shopping online. You can still reap the benefits and avoid the dangers. Here are some tips that can help:
1- When you wish to visit an online shop, don’t just click on the links given in emails. Manually type the address of the website in the address bar so you are sure that a phishing link will not route you to a fake shop and make your PC vulnerable to viruses and other malware.
2- The browser should have the padlock icon and the website’s address or its URL should begin with HTTPS where S stands for secure. This ensures that the site can be visited safely. Keep in mind that there are some websites that only switch to the S when people reach the payment process. Keep an eye out for other logos that indicate that the payment details are encrypted and the website has a secure payment provider.
3- Check out the contact information that has been provided by the website. Who operates the store and where is it located? Is there an address, phone number and email address listed? This information is usually non-existent in fake online stores so you should immediately be on your guard if this information is unavailable.
4- Prices should be compared before you make the decision of purchasing a product. There are various price comparison websites that can be used for ensuring that you are getting the right price. Just because the website is offering 50% off doesn’t mean that it is the cheapest option available.
5- All order confirmations, sales receipts and other information should be saved in your inbox or printed out. In case something goes wrong with your purchase such as the wrong item arrives or doesn’t arrive at all, having more documentation can make the sorting out process easier.
6- Don’t forget to go through the terms and conditions of the website carefully. What is the returns process? How long does the delivery take? Are there any extra charges of shipping and VAT? You need to be aware of what you are signing up for before you buy anything.
7- Consider using an additional security measure when credit or debit cards are used for online shopping. For instance, the MasterCard Secure Code or Verified by Visa can be used, but people have to sign up for these schemes first. Certain letters or a special code has to be entered before the payment is completed, keeping you secure.
Author: The post has been written by Hoor Hassan who manages www.mygiftshop.com.pk, and online store that helps people send gifts to Pakistan. Hoor is also a digital media expert and lives in Lahore. She can be followed on Google+.