12 Tips Shopping Safely Online
Loes Knetsch ©
When you purchase something online, you want to receive it as well. But that’s not always the case. Sometimes you have paid for an item, and it never arrives. What can you do to protect yourself and to shop safely online? Be aware of fake shops.
Here are 12 tips for shopping safely online
–1. Security starts with your own computer.
–2. Look closely how the website is presented
–3. Are there a lot of grammar errors on the website?
–4. Do they have a phone number where you can reach them?
–5. What to do if the product is not what you thought it would be?
–6. Check how long the webshop is active online
–7. Is there an email address that you can use?
–8. What are others telling about this webshop?
–9. Does the web shop have a quality mark?
–10. Can you pay via a secured SSL (green padlock) connection?
–11. Be alert for extremely low pricing
–12. Google the address which is shown on the websiteCuriosity pulls people into a scam, curiosity also killed the cat Click To Tweet
1. Security starts with your own computer
Ensure you have the latest update and a good virus scan. And that you use the latest browser version. Besides that, always use a unique password for every webshop. And never do purchases through unsecured WIFI connections. It is very easy for hackers to intercept when your connection is not secured.
2. Look closely how the website is presented
What is the difference between these two addresses? Can you tell?
https://spelling.com and https://speIIing.com
That’s right in the first one is used 2 times the lower case L, and in the second one 2 times the capital i
That’s exactly how criminals work with fake pop-up stores. The stores are an exact copy of the genuine stores. They cash your money and never send the products. And within days, they vanish for the web.
How to check this? Throw it in Google translate, Google will tell you!
3. Are there a lot of grammar errors on the website?
A hastily made website with a lot of grammar errors can ring your alarm bells. A good webshop will certainly attract staff who have a good knowledge of the language.
4. Do they have a phone number where you can reach them?
Do you actually get a real person answering the phone? Know who you are doing business with! That’s very important, that you know who’s selling you the product. I read a story, the other day, about a sale. The seller waited outside the apartment complex. They paid, and the seller would fetch the tablet inside. Because of his sick child, he asked them to wait outside. He left through the back. They have never seen the seller and the money again. It goes without saying that there was never a tablet. Even when you meet someone in person, remain vigilant!
5. What to do if the product is not what you thought it would be?
You receive the product, but it’s not of the quality you did expect. Before you purchase online, it’s sensible to read the return options. Do they have a return option? Do they charge you for that? How easy is it to return products? To which address can you send it? How long before you get your money back?
6. Check how long the webshop is active online
Scam web shops pop up and disappear. They collect and vanish in order not being caught. Check this with the domain age checker. Click on the little arrow and then on the button “history check.”
7. Is there an email address that you can use?
When you do not fully trust the webshop. Try sending an email and wait if you do you get a prompt answer. Also in this case, when you get an answer, how is the grammar?
8. What are others telling about this webshop?
Read the testimonials, do they look genuine? Look what you can find on Google searching for the shop name. Just checking out the comment section is not helping much. Every webmaster can refuse to publish negative comments. And is also in charge of the testimonials placed on the website. When you find all comments and testimonials a bit too positive, you can start a Google search for this company.
9. Does the web shop have a quality mark?
Trustworthy web shops have a quality mark and are controlled by authorities. Be sure that the quality mark is genuine.
Unfortunately, the criminals are very innovative and the logos and safety marks they use are almost identical to the logos on the real websites. There are even complete replica fake designer websites they can buy online to scam you out of your money.
10. Can you pay via a secured SSL (green padlock) connection?
Can you pay with Paypal, a credit card, or via a bank transfer through a secured system? Does the web shop have a green socket padlock in the browser? And print the payment page. At least, you have SOME proof of your purchase. You do not have a strong case, but when the police receive proof like that, they are probably able to get the webshop offline. I hate to say it, but when you are scammed online, you usually lose your money.
11. Be alert for extremely low pricing
Be extra alert when a product is offered far below the competitor’s price. Scamming is of all time. And remember, buying stolen goods is an offense. The newest I-phone for only $249,00 is probably an empty box.
12. Google the address which is shown on the website
Is it a real address? Where is the company located? What is “Google maps” showing in street view mode? Is it an apartment 3 high in an apartment building or do you end up somewhere in the middle of nowhere? It’s not very likely they sell bicycles from a location like that.
Use your common sense.
When it looks too good to be true, it is often too good to be true! When you are scammed online by a webshop you can report your experience with a wrong ended online purchase on Consumer.ftc.gov. Related online scam reports and articles about fraud and scams on this website you can find here.
Starting your own webshop can be overwhelming
1 out of 5 webshops doesn’t make it on the internet. For some reason, they stop already in the first year. A lot of web shop owners jump into an unknown market and do not foresee all the problems they can encounter. I don’t want to write an excuse for these entrepreneurs. I just tell you to be careful when it comes to trust that your purchase will be sent to you by the webshop owner. Sometimes things grow far above their heads and they are unable to manage.
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