Online shopping definitely has its perks. It's convenient, there are countless bargains at your fingertips, and of course you get to avoid all the hassles of shopping in store, such as crowds, parking, queues...it's not hard to see why many people choose to shop online.
But one of the biggest pitfalls of online shopping is the potential risk of being scammed. Whether its identity theft, credit card fraud, or just the disappointment of a product not living up to its promise, we've all heard stories of online shopping gone wrong. Avoid these perils by following these 5 tips for shopping online safely: 1. Choose a reputable site
If you're not familiar with the website you’re shopping
on, do your research. A Google search will reveal if there are any reviews or warnings about the site. Online stores such as Amazon
, and The Iconic
are popular because not only do they have a great product range and solid return policies, but they are trustworthy and reliable. You may spot a great deal on a site you've never heard of – but if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. 2. Make sure the website is secure
Look for a 'padlock' icon – this indicates you're in a secure section of the website. If you can't see this, find another site; it's not worth the risk. Another indication of a secure site is the internet URL changes from http:// to https:// when you are making your purchase. 3. Use a secure payment method such as PayPal
There's a reason PayPal is the world's most popular payment method for online shopping – it’s easy to use and safe because the retailer never receives your credit card details. Best of all, if something does go wrong and you need to dispute a transaction, PayPal offers “Buyer Protection” and will investigate for you. 4. Read the fine print
Make sure you read the product description carefully before you purchase – double check the size, colour, price, shipping costs and returns policy. Once payment has been submitted, keep an eye on your bank or credit card statements and make sure there are no extra or incorrect charges to your account. 5. Protect your computer
NEVER use a public computer to make purchases and ensure you have firewalls and anti-virus software installed on your own computer. Update your passwords regularly and make sure they're the recommended strength.
So it's fairly simple to shop safely online, but both online and traditional shopping have their pros and cons. Which do you prefer? Find out which method wins out overall