12 Essential Tips for a Safer Online Shopping Experience

In today’s day and age, online shopping has taken over as our go-to option to buy new things may it be clothes, hardware, essential items, or a pin. It has become a way of life for many of us. The convenience and variety it offers are not just hard to resist but harder to find in your traditional brick-and-mortar shops, however, with great convenience comes risks and it becomes essential to ensure that your online shopping experience is safe and secure.

To help you make the most of your virtual shopping spree, we have compiled a list of 12 crucial tips which one should follow for a safer and more enjoyable online shopping experience.

Whether you are a seasoned online shopper or new to this trend, these guidelines will help protect your personal information, minimise your financial risks and make your online purchases worry-free.

1. Shop from Reputable Websites

Stick to well-known, established online retailers and marketplaces. Look for the padlock symbol and “https” in the web address bar making sure that the websites you visit are secure. You may also conduct some market research and look for reviews of these websites. We suggest if the store isn’t reviewed or does not have favourable reviews, do not order from their website.

2. Use Strong, Unique Passwords

Create strong, unique passwords for your online shopping accounts. A combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and special characters is ideal. Avoid using easily guessable information like your birthdate or “password123” or your own or your relative’s name in the password. Also, in case you are visiting the website/platform for the first time and you either don’t look at buying from it frequently or are just treading the waters, we recommend buying as a guest, The majority of the platforms allow you to buy from them as a guest.

3. Enable Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)

Building on our previous point, whenever possible, enable 2FA for your shopping accounts. This provides an extra layer of security which will require anyone accessing the account to enter a code sent to your mobile device.

4. Beware of Phishing Scams

As online shopping is gaining momentum so are people trying to scam, one must be cautious of emails or website links that appear suspicious. Verify the sender’s authenticity and never click on links which come in unsolicited emails or messages. Beware of offers and deals which are too good to be true.

5. Keep Software and Antivirus Updated

Regularly update your operating system, browser, and antivirus. These updates often include security patches that protect against vulnerabilities which scammers and hackers tend to exploit.

6. Use a Secure Network

Avoid making online purchases when you are connected to public Wi-Fi networks. To keep your data secure, opt for a secure, private connection as more often than not the public networks are not encrypted.

7. Research the Seller

Before making a purchase on any online selling platform, remember that the platform might itself would not be providing the products or services and more often than not there are sellers who are offering it. Try not to buy from an unfamiliar seller, if there is no other option we recommend you research their reputation and read reviews from other customers. Trustworthy online marketplaces often provide user feedback.

8. Protect Personal Information

Only provide the necessary information during checkout. Reputable websites typically require minimal personal data, such as your name, shipping address, and payment details.

9. Use Credit Cards for Payments

Credit cards offer added protection for online purchases. If something goes wrong, you can dispute the charges with your credit card company. Also, many platforms offer COD (Cash On Delivery) option which could also be a great option to look for.

10. Be Cautious with Public Computers

Similar to public Wi-Fi networks, one must avoid making online transactions on public computers, as they may not be secure. If you must use one, log out and clear your browsing history and cookies even if you use private/incognito browser tabs or guest modes. Also, try to use an on-screen/virtual keyboard and change its location on the screen to minimise keystroke tracking. 

11. Read the Return and Privacy Policies

Before making any purchase one must familiarise yourself with the seller’s and platform’s return policy, as well as their privacy policy. Knowing these terms can save you from unpleasant surprises as at times many products and services have different return policies and they could also differ from seller to seller.

12. Check Your Statements

Regularly review your credit card or bank statements for any unauthorised or suspicious charges. Report them immediately to your bank or CC provider and also the platform if you spot anything unusual.

By following these 12 tips you can maintain a safer online shopping experience and enjoy the convenience of e-commerce with confidence. In today’s time, it has become essential to stay vigilant and take steps to protect your personal and financial information while enjoying the countless benefits of shopping online.

Happy and secure shopping!

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