6 Tips for Safe Purchasing From Online Shopping Websites
While purchasing from online shopping websites is a much convenient and cost-effective solution for consumers, the persistent risk of receiving the wrong parcel and getting coned by Cybercriminals still haunts many and limits this market's potential growth.
As per the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) report, many victims either received a different parcel from what they ordered or got nothing after paying a hefty amount for their items. They also reported that most of the victims were being directed to those fraudulent websites from social media platforms or during their online search on search engines for that particular item.
Note: EConsumer.org deals with the eCommerce and online shopping-related transactions in which foreign companies are involved
Since with the ever-growing online shopping platforms, more and more scams are getting reported, we must discuss how one can shop online without being vulnerable and getting scammed.
1. Use Familiar Websites with Secure Connection
It is recommended to always shop from reputed online retailers such as Alibaba, Amazon, eBay and other popular platforms. Avoid going to your Web browser and looking out for any new retailer you have never heard about.
If you want to look out for other options, ensure that the site is with SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate installed. By secure website, it means that the connection must be secure with HTTPS and not HTTP. A little padlock can be seen in a snapshot of the Wondrshare Website.
Fraudulent websites usually use other than the .com domain, so make sure you do your homework before placing an order to a new online retailer.
You may check the retailer's domain-related information with Whois Public Internet Directory as advised by the FBA.
There are a couple of Website Audit Tools dedicated to SEO – but you can use those tools to get an idea of how old that particular website is. There are few metrics like Domain Authority and Page Authority, and also they rank the website as per their set criteria. If you enter the retailer name on a search bar within those tools, they usually share the online shopping sites list in which you can check out the competitors of that shortlisted retailer. – you would get to know where the shortlisted retailer of yours stands within the competition.
2. Create Unhackable Passwords
Unless you are not a regular online shopper, do not create an account if it is not mandatory. Even if you do, make sure that your password is unique, stronger and different for each of the online shopping websites you use.
To create online shopping website password, use the below-mentioned tips.
- Consider a complex set of upper and lowercase numbers, symbols and letters
- Use a long passphrase that is unforgettable for you and unguessable for a potential hacker
- Avoid using personal and general information such as your city, country, dog's name or your favourite football team
- You may use a password generator and manager to create and manage various passwords for all of your websites.
3. Do not use Debit Cards and keep a check on an E-Statements
Even though the arrangements have been made to secure the transaction through Debit Cards, a scammer can still get access to your bank account if your debit card details are compromised. Also, in case of any scam, your bank would do a complete investigation before it gives you your money back – that process could take weeks or even months. So, it is recommended to use Credit cards or any other payment gateways such as Paypal. Credit cards have some purchase protection and do not give the sellers direct money access within a bank account – also, in case of fraud, some credit cards offer $0 liability.
Stick to one credit card for all types of transactions because, in case of fraudulent activity, you can then shut it down without impacting other types of transactions.
If not daily, you must check the e-statements weekly, especially on holidays; you should stay vigilant. Set up alerts on each of your accounts for every new activity on your cards – get alerts via text messages or emails, and upon receiving them, quickly cross-check your account.
4. Ensure your own System's Protection
If your system with which you approach online shopping websites do not have any antivirus software in place, install it and keep it updated. There is the feature of an automatic update within these kinds of software; make it enabled.
You must install an anti-spyware program to protect your online personal information from malware. Make sure to get all the software from a trusted source.
Note: You must not install any random spyware protection software from the internet as it might be having a virus that could retrieve your information. Avoid keeping your system running all the time, as this could make it more prone to spyware attacks from hackers.
5. Avoid Public Computers to make a purchase
You better not use Public computers or internet services to do online shopping. But if you have to, make sure to log out from all of your personal ID's. Use VPN (Virtual Private networks) if you are in dire need of using public WiFi.
Make sure no one is watching you while you are purchasing at any café or a restaurant.
6. Give to the Point data and skip optional information
You will be asked to provide details like payment method, phone number, email and shipping address. If anyone asks you about social security information, license number, or personal information that is not required for a purchase activity, ignore that online retailer. You might want to read the privacy and shipping policy of that particular online retailer before making a purchase.
Make sure not to save the payment information within your profile and if it autosaves it, delete the payment details after purchase.
Some General Recommendations
Apart from the above tips, make sure not to fall prey to "too good to be true" offers. FBA reported that most complainants mentioned that they were tempted to purchase because the price was too low.
Do not give a response or provide any personal information to a pop-up message or suspicious email. Use authorized Apps of online retailers if you have to – make sure to read the reviews before downloading the App.
One of the most important things is that you should voice out your concerns on public forums as it may help others stay safe with their purchase.
We have discussed all those tips that you as a consumer must consider while you visit online shopping platforms – or if you are someone who is after creating online shopping website, make sure you effectively design your website to build trust between you and your prospects.
And the first step of building an online shopping website is to start with the Prototype designing. You can use one of the most user-friendly prototyping and collaboration software named Wondershare Mockitt.
- It allows you to create a design prototype in few easy steps.
- With Mockitt, you can plan how you want your online store to be designed, what elements could make a good impression on your visitors, and which kind of images can go with the overall website's theme.
- Which information you would want to make mandatory for your customers, and which they can leave as an optional
- Design check out page with all the applicable payment gateway options
- Do not overly design any promotional offers landing page – make it simple and effective
Make sure to design your prototype with Mockitt using all of the above tips and get it approved by your stakeholders. Or, if you are a consumer, you better stay alert with your online purchase.
So, irrespective of you being a consumer or a seller, the above tips would help you stay competitive and vigilant in cyberspace.