Shop online safely

If you want to shop online safely, you should not take safe shopping for granted as something that is always true. You should take precautions yourself too, it is totally acceptable to keep your financial data as safe as safe can be.

Established online websites make sure to have enough safeguards in place on their end to make sure that their customer data, and by extension, their own reputation, is kept safe. But, even if you trust credible websites it does not mean you should consider trusting the internet blindly. Malicious websites and individuals make short work of people who are too trusting too soon.

So how can you ensure your safety and avoid costly and time-consuming repercussions?

The Website Address

Online shopping is not anything new. However, the choices that consumers have now is something quite new. With new websites opening every now and then, how do you know which is good and which is not?

The simplest way of knowing this is by looking at the website. All trusted websites will have a web-address (the website name in your navigation bar) which starts with ‘https’ or ‘http’. These are simply web communication protocols (types) that are considered safe by international standards and any website that requires you enter any personal data, let alone your financial data should ideally stick to either of these.

Although not a prerequisite, this shows that the website sticks to established best practices and thus could be trustworthy. So, shop online safely and make sure that your favourite website complies with these standards. If not, no worries, opt-in for cash on delivery which is also something all top websites now days offer.

Paying Online

While our previous observation is good to have for you to shop online safely, the following point is a need to have.

So, you like a product online, read its reviews and make sure you like what you’re seeing. You then choose to buy the product and take out your credit card to buy it online. For accepting payments online most websites will open a new window or redirect you to a dedicated window which asks you to enter your card details/secure transaction ID (usually generated for each transaction).

But, before you enter your details, you should stop and check if the address bar displays a closed lock icon which is highlighted in green just before the address of the website.

If this icon is absent, or it displays an open lock instead (usually coloured grey) then don’t pay online through this portal. This shows that the connection is not secure and that the communication may be picked up by a third party if they decide to listen in.

You should choose another payment option or opt-in for cash on delivery instead in such case if you want to shop online safely.

Shopping on App

Most websites which host online shopping portals also offer their services on a smartphone application. Transactions on the app may be more secure than transactions on the internet. But, you should bear in mind that the credibility of the website should directly influence your choice to pay online using the application. So, obviously, don’t download the application for dubious or shady webpages.

You should also, take a little time and read a few reviews before you download the application from the App Store (for Apple smartphones) or the Google Play Store (for Android devices). Only go in for apps that have a good rating and have been downloaded many time. And, make sure you read a few reviews to know if the application forces you to rate before you can use the app (an underhand tactic that some malicious apps may use).

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