Online shopping is no longer a rarity but it is the preferred way to buy in the conditions in which your ordered merchandise is delivered to your door by courier, and with a single click you can compare shop offers to find the best product. The small price, however, often hides the dangers of which it is good to know about, which is why in this article.
I will show you how to make sure an online store is safe and reliable before you spend your hard-earned money. So, I’ll talk about online shopping troubles and what to do to avoid them.
How to identify secure online stores?
Here are some argues that can make your online shopping experience a pleasant one:
- Your previous experience with the store – Did you buy from there or did your friends buy in the past without having any problems? Trust works online just like in real life, so if you used the services of an online store and you were pleased, you have a few reasons to use the services of that company in the future.
- Find information about customer issues – Start your favorite internet browser and search for reviews for the store you want to buy from. Read what the buyers said and if they were satisfied or dissatisfied. If you find their complaints exaggerated, then you have no reason to avoid that site.
- It inspires confidence by the way the site looks – I know it is quite subjective, but the visual aspect can contribute to your decision to use or not the services of that store. A serious site usually has a more neat design, which loads quickly and works flawlessly. An ugly and hard to navigate on site denotes either the assignment of the company that administers it, a sign that it might treat you with similar misgivings if you encounter problems, or a lethal attempt by a crook to slander naive clients. So listen to your intuition if you feel there is something wrong, even if you can not put your finger on the problem.
- HTTPS Secured Connection – This is perhaps the most important thing an online store needs to have – an HTTPS secure connection, either on all store pages or just in the shopping cart area and the order completion area. Find the lock-like icon in the address bar of the site or make sure the current page address starts with ‘https://’ instead of ‘http://’.
- Be careful what information you disclose when placing the order – You have reached the step in which you want to order and you need to fill in the data plus the tax information necessary to make the payment. There are no reasons why you would be asked for data other than your name, address, and card details. Do not provide personal data, such as social security number or your credit/debit card’s PIN number.
- 3D Secure System – Do not buy from sites that are not enrolled in the 3D Secure system. As much as possible, avoid unsecured online payments without 3D Secure, a system in which VISA and MasterCard issuers are enrolled, as well as most online renowned stores.
Online Shopping Troubles
You can not try on clothes.
In the case of electronics and home appliances or jewelry, online shopping is the perfect alternative.
But if we are talking about clothing and footwear, the situation is complicated. Why? Because online stores do not offer the opportunity to test what you want to buy. That’s why Amazon, for example, started Prime Wardrobe, a service with which you can choose between 3 and 15 pieces of clothing that will be delivered at no costs to you. You’ll be able to try on the ordered clothes and if deciding to keep the one you’ll only be charged for that one only. You’ll have to send the others back to Amazon.
Products are not as they appear on the site.
You can analyze the product in a physical store, making sure everything is OK, from aspect to materials it’s made of.
The situation in the online environment is quite different.
You probably have already received a product that does not match the description on the product’s page on the online store. However, you can lower these risks by simply opting for products that are well-rated by customers or have lots of reviews uploaded by real clients.
High waiting time.
One of the negative aspects when it comes to online shopping is that a few days or weeks (months, in some cases) may pass until the order arrives at your door.
Online stores know how important it is for their customers to get their purchased products in a shorter period of time and many of them are delivering in 24-48 hours, tops.
However, it depends on your country of residence and on the online store you’re buying from. For example, big online retailers like Amazon will deliver even in 30 days (sometimes more) if your country of residence is not near their own warehouse or the vendor’s warehouse. Of course, you can go for faster delivery but it will cost you a lot.
The need for credit/debit card loaded with money.
You can not make any purchases online as long as you do not have a credit card or debit card that has the needed amount of money. That’s a clear thing!
Most online stores ask you to pay for your order exactly after confirming your order, so you have to make sure you have enough money in your bank account.
However, there are some online stores that offer you the possibility to pay when you receive the products you ordered.
Phishing & Fraud
Well, when it comes to the online environment, phishing is the hackers’ preferred method to get your personal data. Even though phishing is commonly used to hack social media accounts or email addresses, there have been cases of online stores phishing.
Phishing is a simple method for personal data theft or credit/debit card fraud. A hacker puts up a site that’s identical (to a point, however) with the original site, then it promotes the link via social media networks or via emails, advertising some unbelievable special offers (fictional, of course). Naive people may actually fall into the trap and go for it.
Hackers will only mimic the home page of the site or just a few sections of the site, depending on their goals. In the case of an online store phishing, hackers will only give links to the products pages they mimicked knowing that some people don’t pay attention to the other section of the site which, in most cases, will not be accessible.
If the offer is really good, some people will place an order by completing the ordering form which will ask them for personal details as well as for their credit card details.
Hackers may then use the data for their own purposes or may sell the information to others who are interested in obtaining such details.
Some online stores will ask you for more details than necessary. You must not trust these sites.
As I’ve already told you in this article, all the information an online store needs in order to process your order is your name, your address, and your credit card number, issuer name (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, etc.), expiration date, and the last three digits of the security code on the back of your card (also known as CVV).
If you bump into an online store that asks you more information, like SSN, card’s PIN code, or a copy of your ID document, then leave that site immediately because it’s not reliable.
Cases of identity theft happen around the world frequently and the Internet is the easiest method to do this.
I’ve already advised you to make your online shopping only on sites that have an ‘https://’ connection.
Now, I’ll tell you why is this important.
A secured connection (‘https://’ in the address bar of the site) encrypts the data that are shared between the user and the site. Therefore, all the data you fill in forms on the site will be encrypted.
If the site is not using an ‘https’ connection, your data will not be encrypted and it may be acquired by hackers.
Online shopping is the trend of the modern days when the technology makes this possible even if we’re in the subway traveling to work. Shopping online should be a pleasant and satisfying activity designed to help you find your favorite products at lower prices taking advantage of the home delivery. You won’t lose time looking for favorite products in physical stores and you won’t get tired carrying the products back home.
But, as anything in this world, online shopping is not only milk and honey. Long delivery time, the need of having money on your bank card, connection security issues, or hackers interfering are just some of the online shopping troubles you might face when not paying much attention to these aspects. However, all these can be avoided and the methods have been described above. I wish you wonderful online shopping sessions!