The online shopping industry is witnessing an exponential growth. Online companies are mushrooming with the selection of products becoming mind blowing. Heavy bargains attract the online shoppers. Free shipping service to promote online sales. The companies, offering fast shipping services leads the show. The return of the products has also become easy like never before.E-commerce helps its consumers to choose their products at their own confines, thus becoming a better option in a busy world like ours. Not all online companies provide quality service.
There are also fly by night operators who will swindle your money if not careful. Identifying good companies have become a challenge other than those trusted and reputed brand e-tailers. To make sure you’re hard earned money is not siphoned off by the crooks; it would be prudent to follow these ten guidelines to ensure that you are dealing with the right kind of online firms to cater to your needs.
The first and foremost thumb rule is that you trust only familiar websites like Amazon and other reputed companies. It is not safe to look for online firms through search engines and end up losing money by getting carried away by their offers. Search engines would throw up many online companies, whose discounts and offers would be pretty much more competitive in comparison with big firms like Amazon. Naturally, you will be tempted to go for it and they, in turn, would go for a kill.
The spurious companies thrive on search engine optimization techniques and with the deception of using common brand names with a spelling variation, misleading you to think that the company you land is the original. Also, genuine online companies mostly use .com as their domain ID, but with the same popular brand names, many other companies use other domains. Always trust the top level domain, for example, .com.
The second tip is that always look for the lock. Without having a secure socket layer or SSL encryption installed, that company cannot be trusted. So, never attempt to buy online stuff using your credit card from a domain that does not have SSL. In the status bar at the bottom of your web browser, you can see an icon of a locked padlock or right next to the URL in the address bar, depending on your browser. Also, you should never give anyone your credit card details over email.
The third tip is that you don't have to furnish all details online such as your date of birth or the social security number while doing online business. Suppose if you are landing on a crook's website, when you furnish your details like the social security number, date of birth, along with your credit card number for the online purchases you make, you can be taken for a big ride. The more details you furnish, the easier it is for them to steal your identity. So, try to give very minimal information about you.
The fourth rule is to always check your statements. Instead of waiting for your bill to come at the end of every month, you can go online periodically, especially during the holiday season and look at electronic statements for your credit/debit card by checking your bank accounts.Also, you check for any possible hidden charges that we normally see even in a website like PayPal. If you see any discrepancy, all you need to do is to just pick up the phone and call the representative of the bank and address the issue quickly. In the case of your credit card, once you make sure that the charges are accurate, pay it off. In the case of any issues, you have a month's time at your disposal to notify the concerned bank of your problems.
The fifth guideline is to inoculate your laptop, PC or any other online gadget. These days, the offenders will not wait for you to offer data to them. They have become smarter by the day. So, it is safe to protect your PC or laptop against malware with regular updates to the antivirus program.
The sixth advice is to use strong passwords which are un-crackable, while you do online shopping. As online shopping has become a habit, you end up creating more new accounts on all sorts of online sites. Therefore, creating strong password can ensure that you are not taken for a ride by the scamsters.
The seventh tip is thinking mobile. The most advisable thing is to use the apps provided directly by the established retailers. So, practically, you don't have to visit the store or the website and you can directly use the app for making purchases.
The eight tip is to avoid using public terminals, while you do online purchases. Never use a public computer to make an online purchase. If in case, you use your office terminal, make sure that you log out of all e-mails and apps. Is it safe for you to use your own laptop to shop while you are out? It is ok for you to hand over your credit card to get swiped at the checkout, do make sure nobody is snooping over your shoulder.
Even if you take your laptop for shopping when you go out, you need a Wi-Fi connection. In that case, you use the wireless if you access the web over a virtual private network (VPN) connection. Even if you have a free network, make sure that you use only known networks, like the ones found at public places like railway station, airport, Starbucks etc...
Last, but not the least, the tenth rule is to be wary of the coupons. The coupon scamsters offer you a free product with purchase, like an iPad or holiday job offers. These offers come through social media sites like Facebook. Even your friends could forward these offers little knowing that they have been sent by scamsters. Even, you end up receiving a message from your friend that he got robbed when he was on a holiday vacation spot and requesting to wire transfer money. Unless you confirm it after contacting him directly, you cannot trust.