How to stay safe when shopping online?
Shopping online can be fun, exciting, and occasionally tricky. When you start googling brands, cheapest websites, compare similar items, deals with the best discount codes, that's when the questioning begins. Fear not, we are here to relieve all your worries and list the ultimate technique that works.
With the dawn of pandemic, it is any day a safer choice to shop online rather than traveling to your nearest store. Earlier only things like- electronics, household articles, and clothing were the most purchased things online, but now all kinds of groceries and beverages from the supermarkets have taken the lead. There's not a single reason to deny or question why online shopping is better? It's time-saving, cost-effective, and effortless which makes it preferred everywhere.
There have been so many instances where quick purchase mostly leads to devastating products, hence, before placing any random order just because it's on sale, understand how to shop online? Millions of shopping websites are available that will try to woo you with their exciting coupon codes, budget options, low priced deals but picking the correct ones should be your talent.
Check out the best tips to understand how online shopping works.
Pick The Correct Websites
This is the first and foremost step in anything you browse on the internet. The moment your server connects to malicious software, it will track down all your financial details and personal data (or any data you store on your computer/mobile). Ensure your laptop's firewall is turned on.
For people browsing or shopping via wireless connections aka Wifi, should ensure that the network is encrypted, hence, avoiding any lurkers in your locality. Avoid any financial transactions using a public network.
Avoid Lesser Trusted Websites
For every product, the internet lays out hundreds of options for you to pick. But picking the untrusted one can cause you your data loss and possible chances of hacking into your financial information.
Almost every big conglomerate or store has their offline stores as well as online applications for customers convenience, but even the branded websites have faced backlash during deliveries. Websites like Amazon, Flipkart, and Myntra have the best firewall and security due to their huge clientele, other sites in India aren't as trustable as the former.
Increase Device Security
This could be a bonus for any online shopping process. Your browser should display a padlock icon that is the symbol of security on the top right corner of the URL bar. One more thing to understand is to pick the right day for shopping generally people shop around on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays as most websites tend to have deals on weekdays instead of on weekends. Also, make sure to check past experiences regarding the security of the website if anyone has suffered a loss in deals or security-wise.
Understand Your Need
For instance, you want to purchase a lipstick in a particular shade, Google will display 25 websites that offer different deals on the same product. Then it comes to your inner detective skills, where you can analyse the details like- authenticity of the product, brand certification, brand deals or discount, shipping time, minimum cart value, and comparison of the best. Just because a new online business is selling the product at a reduced 50% price, doesn't mean they will cater to your needs like timely delivery and originality. It's very important to understand your need before placing an order online.
Scout Top Portals
The promoted websites use SEM (Search Engine Marketing) techniques to always stay on top of their genre or relevant keyword searches. Many a time even lesser-known or newer portals use this method to increase sales, but if you haven't heard of it before might as well not visit or buy from them. Visit top websites that are trusted and have the best star rating, hence, proving their customer value.
Read The Terms & Conditions
Many times if you are purchasing a peculiar product that's exclusive or not easily available online, be 100% sure of their policies. Sometimes even the biggest websites like Amazon do not have a return/exchange or refund policy on certain products for certain reasons. Reading a website's terms and conditions will help you alleviate hidden loopholes or issues that might come up later.
Learn About Online Payment Scam
Even web series have been created on big online frauds that will wipe off your bank accounts within the blink of an eye. Online money scams have increased over the years; this happens when you overshare online, may it be your birthday, bank account details, debit/credit card information, CVV number, and secured PIN numbers. Any business will ask for minimum details or offer you multiple one-time transaction options like OTP, UPI, Wallet, Pay later, or Netbanking. Use either of these instead of saving your cards.
Discover Cheap Bargain
Whether you are shopping for children, for couples, for seniors, for students, or women, Indians tend 'How can I get the cheapest price on this thing?' Online shopping doesn't limit itself to products, goods, or commodities but also virtual purchases like- gift cards, online streaming portal subscriptions, software purchases, or upgrades that could become tricky.
Many automated or bot websites are promising you coupons or discount pricing on already fixed-price items. DO NOT CLICK ON THEM. Those pop-up ads are generated via Google Adsense and can easily hack into your account. Visiting trusted websites or portals during their offer season will give you a better deal than running after untrusted cheap bargains.
Always Read Reviews
There have been so many instances where people have randomly purchased from online shopping apps without reading customer experience or reviews. One rookie mistake, and you end up with another fiasco. Always make sure you read reviews of the products you'll purchase; some people also upload photographs along with honest and brief reviews.
If a product doesn't have many reviews or just negative ones especially regarding skin and body, it's advisable to consult doctors or physicians to buy randomly. You might end up harming yourself with the incorrect products.
Prevent Saving Debit/Credit Cards
Unless and until it's a highly secure website, avoid saving any of your transaction details or cards online. Many companies give special offers and schemes for prepaid orders while full MRP on Cash on Delivery.
People tend to use their cards more often than you think to avoid the fuss of ATM lines and contactless delivery. It is advisable to use Credit cards for online purchases as they have no specific validity and run on a spending limit.
While Debit cards being directly connected to your bank account makes it easier to hack into all your personal data. Also, if you make any mistake during a card transaction, the refund is much faster for credit cards than your debit.
Get Rid Of Malware (Install Antivirus Software)
Eliminate any chance of catching those pop-up ad viruses and fix them with quality Antivirus software. Having a good antivirus solution will help you avoid a breach of data and filter out any faux website. It helps in blocking random malware, unsafe data, or any third party website that will get access to your IP Address and much such personal information.
Don't Fall Into The Sale Trap
If you have noticed occasionally, during the sale time, a lower price is displayed on the main page, and the moment you click on it increases within a fraction of seconds. This is a system many sites have incorporated to fool customers during the sale season. Comparing different sites is one thing, but comparing the same product price in the same portal is something to catch up on.
Use Strong Passwords
Stronger passwords lead to a lower risk of hacking. People tend to use the same password or format in every other thing like- their email address, Amazon, Netflix, or even their phone passwords. This thing creates a pattern of similarity in online terms and malicious websites tend to detect such things fast.
Make it a habit of changing your password every 3 months or more frequently to avoid any continuity. Create unique passwords using numbers, binary codes, or the occasional special character. Changes in passwords make them hard to crack and harder to convert openly.
Tell us in the comments section about your online shopping experiences.