What is safe online shopping? The amount of money spent with online shops is increasing at an outstanding rate due to the convenience, choice and low prices that can be found. This is all great but how do you know that you are spending with a reputable website? It is important to understand what safe online shopping is, what to look for and what to avoid.
How is online shopping made safe? Safe online shops use technology that protects the personal information you provide when making a purchase online, your credit card details are ‘scrambled’ so that they cannot be captured by “identity thieves” who aim to capture credit card or bank account details in order buy goods or get loans in your name. Scrambling this personal information means that it cannot be read or captured by anyone else.
How can I tell if the online shop I am shopping on is safe? To ensure that the online shop where you are shopping is safe you should check for the following:
An unbroken key or closed lock in your browser window. Each of these icons show that the online shop is safe. If the key is broken or the lock open the online shop is not safe. Check that the online shop website address begins with “https” instead of “http” when you are providing personal information, such as credit card details. This shows that you are in a secure area of the online shop. If you see the words “Secure Sockets Layer (SSL)”, sometimes in a pop-up window, you know you are shopping at a secure and safe online shop.
How well do I know the brand of the online shop? Another thing to consider is how well you know the brand that runs the online shop? The chances are you will be more confident of shopping at Amazon than many other online brands because they are well established and have a reputation for good customer service.
How quickly will I get my goods? It is well worth delving into the online shop’s customer service section to find out when and how your goods will be delivered. Does the online shop allow you to specify delivery dates and times or an alternative delivery address.
Does the online shop offer me a contact number in case anything goes wrong? If anything does go wrong with your order it is good to have a direct customer service telephone number to call to express your concerns, if not, many online shops provide a customer service email with a guaranteed response time so you can air your queries about your order.
Does the online shop make all charges involved clear? During the sale the online shop should explicitly advise you of all charges involved in the purchase including delivery charges, taxation and minimum purchase limits. These charges will be outlined when you reach the shopping cart stage of the purchase where you can see the items you have purchased and all related charges. From the shopping cart (or basket) you will move to the checkout stage where you safely complete the transaction from a secure server. DO NOT enter you credit card details unless you are sure that the checkout is on a secure server – see How can I tell if the online shop I am shopping on is safe?
Shopping online is a convenient way to get access to a wide array of products from around the world and if all the points above are in place with the online shop you have chosen you can be confident that your purchase is being made safely and you can look forward to receiving your product.