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7 safety tips for online shopping

online shopping

This year, millions of dollars will be spent online shopping. It has become part of our daily routine. From groceries to insurance, almost everything can be bought online. According to research, 8/10 Americans shop online. Making online shopping one of the most profitable industries in the US.

Given the rise in online fraud, online shoppers need to be careful. Below we have listed 8 tips to keep you safe online.

1. Use Familiar Sites

When it comes to shopping online, stick with what you know. Straying away from popular brands and retailers can lead to trouble. For almost everything you need to buy, there will be a recognised retailer. Online retail giants like Amazon, eBay and Walmart pretty much sell everything you could want. They have also built up good reputations over the past 10 years. Meaning that they are the safer choice when it comes to online shopping. Unless you wish to buy directly from a brand. This is particularly popular for fashion and tech. Usually, this is also pretty safe. However, only recommended when you know the brand. Many people have been caught out by fake sites selling fake goods.

2. Be Money Smart

If you wouldn’t walk around with your bag open, why do it online? Ultimately most internet scams involve stealing financial details. This means people need to take extra care when shopping online. Failure to do so can be disastrous. When it comes to making purchases be smart. Never save your details, no matter how ‘safe’ a site looks. One way consumers can protect themselves is by using a secure payment method like iDebit. What makes iDebit great is that it does not involve any card details. Instead, shoppers can authorise payments via their online banking. Think of it as a wallet. Originally used for online casinos, iDebit is becoming a popular choice for online shopping.

3. Pop-Ups

Pop-ups are perhaps one of the most annoying things on the web. They are the small windows that ‘pop-up’ on a site. Unfortunately, even the trusted websites use them. Pop-ups are mainly used to get customer information or to drive sales. Besides cluttering email boxes, these types of pop-ups are harmless. However, some pop-ups are more dangerous. These type of pop-ups are designed to infect computers or worse. To protect yourself use a pop-up blocker. While not 100% effective, they can help you to avoid some dangers.

4. Counterfeit Goods

Fake goods or counterfeit goods are rife on the internet. Sometimes they can even be found on sites like Ebay or Amazon. Here is some advice to avoid buying counterfeits. Firstly, look at the price. If a price is too good to be true, it usually is. Another piece of advice is to check out the description and pictures. Reputable vendors will be happy to provide plenty of information. It is also important to know your seller if it’s not the retailer directly. Check for information or ask. Lastly, be wary of fake reviews. If all the reviews for a product are positive, be cautious.

5. Fake Reviews

As mentioned in the counterfeit section, be aware of fake reviews. Over the past few years, the internet is awash with reviews. Whilst some are genuine and helpful, some are not. When shopping online, take the reviews with a pinch of salt. Basically, don’t believe everything you read. Instead, ask people you know in real life about the product in question. Most importantly, never trust anything with ‘unrealistic’ reviews.

6. Return Policies

Most people hare returning items, especially when it comes to clothes. In fact, most shoppers won’t even return unwanted or ill-fitting clothes. This is because most companies make the process difficult. When it comes to buying online, check the returns policy. Reputable sellers will not make the process hard for you. Popular retailers like ASOS are known for having friendly return policies. If a retailer or seller is missing a returns policy, avoid them. Never be afraid to ask or query a returns policy.

7. Stay at Home

It is never a good idea to shop online outside of your home. This is because your network at home is more protected. Mainly, because your wifi/internet is password protected and secure. Shopping online at a café or bar means you will be using an open network. This means it is ‘open’ for people to see what you’re doing. Making it very unsafe if you are using private information. When out and about stick to browsing and use the save for later tabs.