The world of internet-based shopping has grown exponentially over the last decades. It is a fact that in 2021 approximately 2.14 billion people shopped online. This represents around 27.6% of the global population and is a figure that is only expected to grow over the coming years. Many people find online shopping to be an ultra-convenient way to purchase goods and services, especially when time is a premium and the working weeks are exceptionally busy. The sheer convenience of online shopping is one of the prime reasons behind its success. All someone needs is a smartphone, laptop, or tablet and a reliable internet connection. While online purchasing is commonplace for almost every product and service, the need to remain vigilant remains. This article explains three key ways the consumer can stay safe when making purchases online.
Consider login and purchase screens
When choosing a site to make purchases from for the first time, it is wise to look at the website itself thoroughly. Firstly, check that your browser shows the web pages as having a padlock icon next to the web address. This signals that the site uses SSL encryption to protect the consumer details and personal information from cybercriminals. This is especially important on login pages and payment screens where you will submit password information or payment details when you use the site for the first time (and continuously if you do not permit your browser to remember these details). Some companies are also adopting additional security methods in the combat against online crime. If you do not know what are biometrics they are increasingly being used to provide extra layers of security in the fight against cyber criminals. Biometric data can be fingerprint information along with a host of other unique personal traits. This data can be used to prove that you are the customer and not a hacker who has stolen your identity.
Never pay over unsecured networks
Consumers mustn’t use unsecured networks when making purchases online. For instance, the free Wi-Fi in a shopping center that requires no password is an example of an unsecured network. It can be remarkably easy for a hacker to join this space and harvest your personal details or payment information when a transaction is taking place. While such free Wi-Fi locations are undeniably attractive to shoppers, they should always be viewed cautiously. Casual surfing to pass the time while eating a meal in a restaurant may be fine, but divulging any personal information in such online circumstances should never be considered.
Search our customer reviews for sites
If you have never made a purchase from a specific online store or it is a company that you are unfamiliar with, then it makes perfect sense to search out customer reviews on the site first. Sites such as Trustpilot are a great place to start. Here you will find unbiased reviews from previous customers of the site and will be able to ascertain if the site is legitimate quickly. In addition, you may find other customers’ general experiences of ordering from the site. Did their order arrive on time? If there were any problems, were they adequately resolved? Being armed with this type of consumer information is a key way to make safe purchase decisions online.