It’s convenient, fast and we can do it lying in our pyjamas with YouTube on the other tab, but online shopping can be a dangerous place. If you don’t know what you’re doing it’s easy enough to get ripped off, scammed and start questioning if you should keep using your laptop. If you’ve ever lost money online or just worried that you might, here’s some tip on how to securely pass through the world of internet shopping unscathed.
1. Is it definitely the product you need?
Before making any online purchase, you should double check that what you’re buying is what you’re looking for. By this I mean to read in full the product description so you don’t get a surprise when it comes through your door two weeks later.
2. Check the site is safe
Once you know that it’s definitely the product you need, you should check the safety of the site. There are several things to look for on all pages to make sure you don’t get scammed.
a) Contact. Make sure you can directly contact the site through phone and email.
b) User experiences. Trawl the web for other users’ experiences with the website or the product you’re buying. A good way to check this is simply typing into the search bar “is www.randompage.com safe?” and seeing what comes up.
c) Social media presence. If the site has a Facebook page, check if they’re verified, the comment section of their posts from users and generally just look out for any red flags that make it look illegitimate.
3. Transaction process
The purchase process can vary from page to page, but it shouldn’t divert you to another site for the payment. If it starts to do this then don’t follow through with the order as you can’t hold the site responsible. It’s also worth noting that any website worth their salt will let you see your order history with the date of purchase and let you track the order until it’s delivered.
4. Final measures
When you’re on the page where you put in your card details, the address bar should start with ‘https’ and not just ‘http’. This is vital as it stops hackers from accessing your information in the event of a cyber-attack. This is key for the payment page, but may not be there for other pages on the site.