How To Shop Like A Pro…

Online shopping has become the new way of stocking up on anything from groceries to gifts. It’s easy, there’s no queues and your orders get delivered straight to your door.

The online shopping market in South Africa has expanded quite a bit over the past few years. There are more options popping up daily. Woolworths and Pick ‘n Pay even made it possible to buy your groceries online.

Shopping for everything you need from the comfort of your own home has become extremely easy. While some has embraced the online shopping experience there are those who are still hesitant. The main reason being that they are worried about safety and security.

It’s so easy nowadays for crooks to get hold of your card information or scam you into spending money on stuff you’ll never get. I daresay that shopping online is a skill especially if you want to do it without getting scammed.

Here’s a few tips to help you master online shopping safely:

Shop at reputable online stores

The very first thing you need to do is search for legit online stores. Luckily this has become quite easy as most online stores are present on all social media sites especially Instagram. Once you find a website selling the type of products you are looking for you can check for reviews or comments from other buyers.

The great thing is that most online shoppers are very verbal with both praise and complaints. If a website is legit you’ll definitely find reviews, comments or complaints.

Shop at secure websites

Some scammers can fool you into believing a website is legit. The easiest way to beat this system is by checking the URL of the site. Make sure the URL starts with https and if it doesn’t rather don’t shop there.

Another quick way to ensure a site is secure is by checking for the lock next to the link. Online stores that have the lock next to the URL are secure. Those who have an open lock next to the URL are not secure and should probably be avoided unless you’ve seen they are legit. I’ve shopped at new online stores just starting out that didn’t have a secure site yet. It’s risky but if you’ve seen or heard of their service from close friends the chances are their still getting everything sorted. Never shop at a store that isn’t secure or hasn’t been reviewed.

Don’t click shopping links received in emails

Online retailers make use of email to keep you up to date with new product, sales and discounts. Scammers know this and often trick you by sending emails looking very similar than those you receive from the retailer.

Even if it looks legit it’s always best to go directly to the store’s official website. If the email was legit there will likely be a sale section, if it was a discount you’ll most likely have to enter the discount code received via email when checking out your cart.

You can also verify the legitimacy of the link received via email by hovering your mouse over it. The actual link will then be displayed at the bottom of your browser window. Make sure you read the full link because some scammers buries and .exe file at the end of a link that seems legitimate. Delete emails with these types of links immediately.

Don’t share your personal information

Another top tip for shopping safely online is to not share your personal information. When shopping at an online store the chances are they will have to ask for certain personal details such as your telephone number, email (for account creation) and your delivery address. These details are fine, sites asking for more personal details such as your place of birth, identity number or bank account details should be avoided.

Use your credit card

One of the top tips you’ll receive is to use your credit card rather than your debit card. With a credit card the card issuer has to fight to get the money back. Whereas if you use your debit card the fight is yours alone. Plus using your debit card opens you to the risk of being robbed clean. With a credit card you have up to 60 days to report fraud before you are expected to pay the funds.

Make use of two-factor authentication methods

Most banks and credit card issuers know that online shopping is a common occurrence in the modern era. This is why they’ve started implementing extra safety measures to ensure your information is kept safe.

One such trusted safety measure is the two-factor authentication method. After entering your card details you’ll be redirected to a new screen. On this screen you will be asked to enter a one-time PIN which will be sent directly to the mobile device linked to your card/account.

Thanks to technology such as MasterCard SecureCode and Verified by VISA both you and the merchant is protected.

Don’t allow the site to save your information or credit cards

A lot of online stores now make it possible to save your account information in an effort to save you time with your next purchase. While this might seem like a good idea it’s best to avoid it. The sad truth is that the more information you provide the more you risk losing in a data breach.

Online shopping can be a lot of fun and make every day feel like Christmas when deliveries come. Following these simple tips can help you get the best online shopping experience safely.

Have any questions or queries?

Feel free to contact me…