A survey conducted involving people’s reasons for finishing shopping online showed that 73% of respondents mentioned saving time as the main rationale. Online shopping can be very conveniently done with a smartphone or tablet which has made the method increasingly fast as an alternative way. One study projects e-commerce incomes grow more than twice from 2012 to 2018.
Identity theft being the most common consumer for 13 consecutive years according to Federal Trade Commission, people have good reason to be wary about giving their credit card numbers, addresses, and other personal data online. With online shopping, buyers encounter risks varying from a slow-running PC to getting a computer virus to greater dangers, such as identity theft. Nevertheless, there are several measures you can take to reduce the risk.
1. Read, read, read
It is very vital to carefully read all the fine print connected with any purchase you make online. Take note of such things as shipping guidelines, terms and conditions as well as return policies. Several transactions are intended to renew every month, thus, charging your account every month and delivering the product on a repeated cycle. Some others, especially software and game downloads, require extra items connected to your purchase that you must actively choose not to avail of.
T. O’Malley, who works in Savannah, Georgia as a computer repair professional with almost a decade of experience in that field, says he often sees buyers with PC issues due to neglecting close scrutiny of the fine print. "Very often, people fail to read before buying," he says. "They do not realize they end up allowing sellers to install toolbars and extra search engines that slow down your PC."
2. Know your seller
A McAfee publication explains how important it is to ascertain that a seller online has an encryption. A way to know a website is safe is to look for a closed lock symbol, a key symbol, or a Web address that starts with https:// rather than http://. "Never purchase from spammers," McAfee advises in its publication.
"The large companies are relatively safe," O’Malley said. "Amazon, for example, is not a place you can get a virus from; it is safe." He also mentioned "coupon printers" that provides consumers print-out coupons using their home PC. "They are generally only adware, and when people get infected, they do not know how to remove it," he says. "Flash update viruses are likewise prevalent."
He also says that "Majority of people cannot spot a bogus seller." To make sure you are downloading from a source that is safe, "go directly to Adobe for download updates," he said.
3. Use a credit card for payment
McAfee also advises buyers to use a credit card, not a debit card or wire transfer. When you purchase using a credit card, you are legally protected against fraud, minimizing your losses. If you report a lost or stolen credit card, the law states you are not accountable for purchases you never make, and your penalty for every card stolen is just $50, which is waived by card providers. On the other hand, a debit card deal takes the money directly from your account, and recovering it in case of a fraudulent deal can be harder to do. Your accountability in terms of a debit card relies on how quickly you report the event. Likewise, wire transfers provide less protection, since the cash goes directly from your account into that of the merchant.
4. Check and keep all documentations
Scrutinize carefully every receipt issued by a seller. It is good practice to keep all receipts for online deals together in a particular place so that you have a running archive of your purchases. You can use them to validate these receipts by checking your monthly credit card statement to make sure everything is as it should be.
5. Inspect your purchased goods
Upon arrival of the goods, inspect the contents of your packages as soon as possible. This will allow you to inform the seller quickly in case of any problem with the item or items.
Internet shopping practically allows almost anyone anywhere to purchase anything from the comforts of your home. However, if you are not careful enough, you could end up being hurt in your pocket. PC viral infection can cost about $150 or so to remove while a stolen identity or money in your bank can end up costing you much more than that.