Monday, 17 March 2014

What You Need to Know About Online Shopping – Part One

Everyone is adapting well to shopping online. It is now common place, with the act of buying online and browsing websites gathering speed so much that it’s now replacing Saturday shopping trips out to the high street and malls. The problem is there are still risks involved when shopping online, but you can avoid them if you know what to look for and how to shop safely online. Over the next three days we’ll be sharing advice and tips to help you avoid the scams.

What Type of Website is best for Online Shopping?

Businesses that provide secure websites using encryption technology to transfer information will help prevent computer hackers from obtaining it. Shoppers should look only for businesses that provide these secure websites to help protect your credit data, personal information and avoid using unsecured websites.

There are a couple of ways to spot a secure website, but the signs may only appear when you get to the order page on the website.
  • A locked padlock appears on the address bar – an open lock isn’t enough, it needs to be closed
  • The start of the website address begins with “https” not “http”
  • Your data should be encrypted when stored on their website
Take the time to investigate how the company works to protect you by reading through their terms and conditions or FAQ page. If in doubt try and contact the company on their social media channels for clarity.

Do Your Research before You Place Your Order

It’s a good idea to use businesses you already know, but there are many excellent start-up firms that could provide you with a great service and products too. If you’re using someone relatively unknown (or at least unknown to you) begin by checking the security and then placing a small order to test out their service. Before you confirm your order it's a good idea to:
  • Look for the physical address of the business and a phone number. If you’re concerned call the phone number and ask a few questions to check they’re legitimate.
  • Ask about their returns policy
  • Research the company online (Better Business Bureau, government consumer protection agency, etc.)
  • Ask friends and family if they have used the company
  • Look on the social media profiles for the business and look at the wall posts, reviews and comments from customers
Return tomorrow for more tips about online shopping.

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