Posted by Blanca Carton, September 2011
As the holiday season is coming to a close, it’s back to school time again. It’s time to buy books, pick up supplies, buy new clothes, etc. It’s so crazy and so expensive!
And despite we all know that we have the option to buy all these items online at the same price or at a lower price than at a physical store, many of us are still reluctant to do so for fear of being duped on the Internet. Even thought it is true that online shopping is sometimes subject to fraud, it is just enough to follow some basic tips to protect yourself when doing your shopping online.
What to bear in mind when shopping online?
- Only visit trusted sites. Look for pages with a professional appearance, pages from a well-known brand, sites displaying a customer service telephone number… It is very important to know who you are buying from.
- Be wary of prize-drawings and ridiculously good offers. Read the conditions of each promotion carefully to avoid nasty surprises.
- Pay for your purchases securely. You don’t necessarily need to always pay by credit card. There are different means of payment and, whenever possible, we recommend that you use cash on delivery to avoid surprises. If this is not possible and you choose to pay by credit card, remember that you will have to provide more information, and therefore you must be sure that the transaction will be completely safe.
- Make sure you are on a HTTPS page:
Web addresses normally start with ‘HTTP’, for example:
However, the pages you make online payments on must be more secure and they should start with ‘HTTPS’, for example:
- Keep an antivirus installed and update it frequently. This is your barrier against spam and phishing. Enter your passwords safely using a virtual keyboard.Note: if you are not sure about something during the installation or update processes, don’t leave it for later. Look for the appropriate solution in the support forums available to you for any queries you might have.
- It is advisable to have a bank account with a credit card associated with it for making online purchases. This account will contain just the money you need for this purpose, making monitoring easier.
- Keep product warranties in a safe place. Besides handling the electronic aspect of online purchases, e-businesses must offer straightforward warranties on products bought. The Web page must contain the following information:
- Means of payment
- Delivery terms
- Product warranties
- If you find out that the product you receive is faulty, is different from the one you purchased or the delivery terms are not fulfilled, file a complaint through the company’s Customer Service Dept.
- Finally, if you don’t receive any answers and you suspect there could be some kind of fraud, report it as soon as possible.
Follow these simple tips and you won’t have any surprises when it comes to doing your shopping on the Internet.