In the past decade, online shopping has become more popular than going to the stores. It is more convenient, there is no waiting in lines, it saves a lot of time, and in some cases money. But how safe is it? Online shopping can be perfectly safe if you follow some simple rules of online shopping and know how to protect yourself from scams and dangerous websites. So how do you know when a website is safe?
Shop from known retailers
The first thing you need to do when shopping online is to determine whether the website is safe or not.
Some fake retail stores nowadays have amazing websites that at first glance seem completely legitimate but upon some closer inspection show the numerous flaws of dangerous websites. If you do not know how to detect these flaws, choose stores that you already know and trust. If you don’t know the store, ask other people around you if they had any experience with that brand, or check online reviews. You can also look for that store on social media to see how big their following is and what people are saying about it.
Examine the website
There are other clues you can search for on the website directly to determine whether it is safe to shop from. Whenever you are on a legitimate website, there will be a small lock next to the URL. This lock tells you that the site is safe to use. Also, if the website address contains ‘https’, that is another sign that you don’t have to worry about your safety, as the ‘s’ stands for ‘secure’. The websites of trustworthy retailers are also spell checked and edited well, so look for spelling mistakes while you browse the website. If there are a lot of them, or you find any other inconsistencies, do not buy anything there.
Legitimate retailers will offer you a return policy that you can find on their website. These websites will also have a section with some general information about the company as well as how you can contact them. There will be usually a phone number and email, and often the address if they have a physical store. If you can find all of this on the website, you have more reason to trust the seller. If not, we recommend closing that website and choosing another one.
What to do when paying online
When you are paying online, you want to give the website only the necessary information. Do not give them any information besides that and do not answer any other personal questions. Moreover, if the website is asking you to give more information than necessary, do not trust it. You should use only trusted methods when shopping online, such as via debit or credit card directly, or through PayPal. If there are problems with your purchase, your bank can help you deal with it, but nothing can be done if you for example wire the money directly to a fraudulent store. After your purchase, you want to keep checking your bank statements regularly to make sure that everything is in order.