Online shopping is a great way to compare prices, find bargains and save money from anywhere with an internet or mobile data connection. But as its popularity has increased, so have the risks, with more and more people trying to scam you out of your money or steal your card details. Thankfully, if you follow a few simple rules you can have a safe and secure online shopping experience.
1- Know the merchant and their reputation
If you already know the store, shopping their online store is very safe. You can always walk into the local store for help if there’s a problem, and if you know others who have had consistently positive experiences with the online store, you can be reassured of the site’s quality.
If you don’t know the store, it may still be the best bet; you just need to take a few more precautions. Conduct your own background check by looking at sites dedicated to reviewing e-stores. If the store isn’t reviewed or does not have favorable reviews, don’t order from their website.
2- Avoid offers that seem “too good to be true”
Any e-store that promises too much at too low a price is suspicious. If the price is too low, consider whether the merchant came by the items legally, if you will ever receive the items you paid for, whether the items are actually the brand shown or a cheap substitute, if the item will work, if you will be able to return damaged goods – or if the merchant is earning extra income by selling your financial information. Disreputable online stores – like their brick and mortar counterparts, may run an absurdly low price offer and then claim the item is out of stock, to try to sell you something else in a classic "bait and switch" scam.
3- Pay with credit, not debit
Always use a credit card to shop as securely as possible. First, a credit card doesn’t give a seller direct access to the money in your bank account. Second, most credit cards offer $0 liability for fraud.
That means you’re not out any money if a crook uses your account info to make a purchase. Your credit card company will ask questions, investigate the fraudulent activity and send you a new card.
4- Getting the exact product
Ask the seller to explain the measurements of the product ( If found )
Ask for real photos for the product you want to purchase
5- Always check the company’s shipping terms
Some merchant’s charge exorbitant shipping fees that can turn a shopping bargain into an expensive mistake. Look to see if they provide tracking and insurance. Understand what carriers they use.