Though the internet brings with it a number of wonderful advantages, it can sometimes serve as a breeding ground for deceitful users and fraud. Online shoppers have to be increasingly tech-savvy in order to ensure that they are getting a good deal that’s also from a trustworthy source. But how does one go about acquiring such wisdom, you might ask. Thankfully, there are a few ways that you can ensure that you don’t get conned by a false salesperson online. Here are some great tips to keep you in the know.
– Don’t send bank or card details via email. A legitimate exchange online is made via secure payment methods such as PayPal, BPay or by credit card. Any sellers asking for an email with these details is likely to have malicious intent. It’s also important that you avoid money transfers and direct debit payments, as these methods can potentially be abused.
– Know the seller. Any website should provide enough information about the merchant that you can give them a call or even visit them in person, so if you come across a seller that provides none of this information, it’s worth checking why first over email. Find out about their policies regarding returns, and check user reviews of their services, if there are any.
– Check if the site is secure. Online merchants with a legitimate reputation will use encryption technology when handling your financial information. The most common type that you will come across is Secure Sockets Layer (SSL). Any sites using this software will be trustworthy, so if in doubt, turn to these secure sites, even if a less reliable source is offering a better deal. Always seek advice from an IT consult if in doubt.
– Be wary of offers that seem too good to be true. The sad truth about these kind of deals is that if they seem impossible, they probably are. Malicious merchants will reel in other users with a deal so blindingly good that they eagerly give away compromising information. If a deal on a shopping site is simply irresistible, contact the seller via phone or email to discuss the possibility of paying in cash. That way, you can prevent any fraudulent sellers from abusing your financial information.
– Print off records of transactions. In the event of any transaction going horribly wrong, it’s good to have files on who-what-when to help any law enforcement that might get involved in the matter further down the line.
– Keep strong passwords. A user that can deceive you online is also likely to be able to infiltrate insecure accounts to their advantage. Though it might seem like a fairly simple step, a strong password can be one of the most effective barriers against hackers. You can never be too careful.
Ultimately, the more you shop online, the more experienced you’ll become at spotting potentially misleading merchants, so shopping safely online can become in itself quite rewarding. Despite the scares around internet security, online shopping is actually more reliable than things like mail order, especially when one is well-versed in the ways of the web-based market. Go forth and purchase!