How to Stay Safe When Shopping Online
The Internet has become an intrinsic part of people’s lives, and it only continues to grow as we move further into the 21st century. One of the biggest benefits of the Internet nowadays is the ability to shop online. In fact, Amazon, the world’s largest retailer, is an online-only store, and it took in a whopping $177 billion in 2017. However, with that immense freedom and convenience comes a pile of safety risks. How do you keep your information safe? How do you make sure that you’re buying things from an established retailer? How do you ensure that what you think you’re buying is what actually shows up at your door? Practice safe tech; use these tips to make your online shopping experience easy and secure.
Look closely at the website URL
Many scammers in the online shopping world will take a URL that looks very similar to a well-known online shopping site and use it to steal information under the guise of being the actual site. For example, they may add dashes in the URL, use two N’s instead of an M, or use other tricks used to make you think you’re on the right site, when you’re actually not. Copying and pasting the website URL into a document or another text field might make it easier to see differences in the URL that you didn’t previously notice. If you do an Internet search for the company, among the first few results should be the official website, where you can check the real URL against the website from which you’re about to buy.
Check the safety certificate
As long as you’re on an up-to-date browser, you’ll have a safety certificate on the URL bar that will tell you the security level of the website in question. Any reputable website, especially websites that take payments, will have one of these. If your Web browser is showing an out-of-date safety certificate, or is giving you alerts on it, you should definitely be extremely wary of buying anything from the site.
Check out with a third-party payment system, if possible
Millions of sellers use third-party payment systems such as PayPal and Visa Checkout nowadays; in fact, PayPal processed 6.1 billion payment transactions in 2016 alone! Checking out with a third-party system can give you an extra level of security; not only do you no longer have to enter your credit card information directly on websites, but you also can dispute transactions for a specified period. Many startups and small businesses have agreements with payment websites so they don’t have to set up their own e-commerce systems. Just check to make sure the payment window sent to you actually belongs to the payment company.
Perform some more research on the company before purchasing
Obviously, if you’re buying from a well-known conglomerate such as Amazon, you already know a decent amount about it. However, if it’s a startup or some other small business, you may not know very much about it or its operators. That’s why you should do your own research. If you can get some identifying information about the people who actually run the company, you can look them up on PeopleFinders to get the full story. Search for the name of the CEO, and then run a background check to make sure he or she is someone you should be giving your money to. Research the phone number provided to ensure that the number actually belongs to that company. PeopleFinders can help you protect yourself from online threats before they even become actual threats. It even does all the work for you.
The ability to shop online has revolutionized the way people buy things. Some people do 100% of their shopping with online retailers, and it’s extremely common to buy big-ticket items online nowadays. However, that convenience has borne the opportunity for those who wish to defraud others. If you’re getting ready to shop online, keep yourself safe; use PeopleFinders to do some research on anyone you’re planning to buy from so you know you’re getting the best items from the best retailers.
Categorized in: Safety