Online shopping still poses a number of concerns for shoppers. Security and confidentiality issues are some of the main reasons (as is theft) inhibiting the growth of online shopping.
While we recognise that there are evil perpetrators out there who are looking to take advantage of the naive Internet user, it is important to remember that most reputable online shopping websites where online transactions are concluded take a very proactive stance on Internet Security. However, here are some basic safe shopping guidelines that online shoppers can follow to ensure that their online shopping experience is fun, comfortable, safe and secure.
1. Reputation: Make sure the website that you are dealing with is reputable and has a positive reputation amongst its community. See if they offer testimonials, references or a forum whereby its users can openly post notes about their experience on that particular website.
2. Ratings & Testimonials: If the website you are transacting with provides a platform whereby buyers can purchase from various sellers in an e-Commerce environment, check if the website offers a rating system that allows users to rate one another based on their experiences. The more you can find out about the people you are conducting trades with the better judgment you will have in order to make informed purchasing decisions.
3. Guard Your Password: Don’t give your personal information or login details such as username and passwords to anyone. Even the owners of the website that you are dealing with should never ask you for your password. While your username may be visible to everyone, your password is not and it should always remain completely confidential.
4. Beware of Phishing Scams: Beware of Phishing scam artists. Phishing is a type of e-mail scam designed to steal your personal data, such as credit card numbers, passwords, account data, or other information. These con artists design e-mail messages that appear to come from the websites that you trust, requesting you to provide them with personal information. The important thing to remember is that there is no reason for anyone to request your personal details if you have already registered on a site and disclosed this information in a secure environment.
5. Protect Your Credit Card: Credit card theft is the highest type of fraud conducted over the internet. So make sure never to disclose your credit card details to anyone over the telephone, in e-mails or on sms. Furthermore, before concluding a purchase on any website where you disclose your credit card details, make sure that you are in a secure website. Ensure that the address in your browser address bar is an https website; this is where the https is in front of the URL indicating that you are now in a secure session. Look out for the yellow padlock icon that displays at the bottom right of your computer screen when you are trying to confirm if you are in a safe and secure online trading environment.