Online shopping safety tips




It is no secret that most shopping now are done online, so scammers are also at work to increase their share of others’ funds. These tips are therefore to help you ensure maximum protection.

Doctored/Fake reviews

If you are one of those who depend heavily on online reviews, either of the organisation or the products, you might be in for a shock. The first thing you need to be aware is that some reviews can be fake, or doctored, especially if they are wrtitten by accomplices and or aquitances. Do you remember when most Amazon sellers are paying people to write reviews of their products? This was before Amazon stepped to ensure reviews are only from verified purchasers. This shows you how important reviews are,and that while most are truthful, some can be fake or doctored to give the company or products high worth. So do your research, and not trust only the online reviews, but ask questions from those who have actually bought and used the products, or the services.

Phishing Scam

Never purchase from any link sent to you by an advertiser, claiming to be from a reputable organisation. Often you get an email offering you once in a life time bargain, ‘for today only’. Do not believe this, often if an offer is too good to be true, it probably is. The link is not from the purported organisation. Always check directly by logging into the official website of the organisation before making your online purchases. As a matter of fact, you should not click on any link sent via your email either to your computer or to your phone. If you do, it will direct you to phishing scam where your passwords and data can be compromised, and or stolen.

Use own computer

It is true that most online purchases are via phones and tablets, but it is safer to purchase via your computer, and at home. This is because home WiFi are more secured, and therefore safer than most hotspots and connections on the go. And NEVER USE OPEN OR FREE WiFi for any online transaction. Open or free WiFi are prone to hackers, who can steal your card and bank details.

Fake/sub-standard products

The online market place is awash with fake and counterfeit goods, and services are not what it is meant to be.  Some displayed original logos, and copied original photos from brand websites in such a way that you will think you are buying the right products, only to discover it is a copy when your goods arrive. How do you then protect yourself?

Make sure the website is NOT a copy of the original site. For example can be written as If you are not careful, you might think it is the right one, and all personal data entered into the fake site are compromised. So you must look for signs of originality on the website. A good one is the GREEN PADLOCK, signifying secured website.  Ensure the website is NOT using a private connection, here some hackers can view and diversify information through websites that are using private connection.

You can view site information by clicking on the green padlock, and it will tell you if the website is using private connections, or secured connection.

Ensure you buy direct from brand websites, for utmost surety of the goods, even sellers on popular sellers on Amazon and eBay do sometimes offer sub-standard products.

EU report on fake goods

Fake goods cost British Firms 6.7 billion pounds a year, and have led to 58,000 job losses. Clothes, shoes and accessories were worse hit with 4.27 billion pounds of counterfeit goods, sold in 2015.

Return/refund policy

You have to be look closely at their return and refund policy, how reliable is this? It is an easy way to know the genuineness of a company if they have a clear return and refund policy. Why would a company refuse a return or refund back if they are genuine? No reason at all. Any company that does not have a clear  hassle free and reasonable return or refund policy is NOT a genuine company.

Where the seller located is located

A legitimate website should state its location, address, contact telephone number, better if it can be found on Google. Without this valuable information, the legitimacy of the company is called into question.

Shipping/Parking Charges

What is this like, is it exorbitant unreasonable or oppressive? There are lots of eCommerce sites giving free postage and packing for those that spend more than certain amount. this is only to make you spend more. There’s nothing wrong with this concept, only ensure it is a legitimate site, value for money if they have what you need.

Fake Apps

Some scammers develop apps that look like genuine ones, but will direct you to scammers’ websites instead. The colour, logo and design all look similar, so it will be difficult for a novice to identify the scam. Vigilance is the word. As stated above, look for website address, logo, green padlock, and site information.

Apps are better downloaded via Google Store.

Never save your card details with the retailer

Some retailers will ask you if you want them to save your card details for future purchases. Do not do this, as it means they have your card details on their server, and can this can be compromised. It is better to manually key-in your card details each time you shop online.

Payment Portal

This is crucial, and especially from a scam website. Most scam websites will have a payment portal that directs you to their own scam website, and instead copy your card details. Be careful especially when paying with PayPal, as there are many spoof of PayPal payment portals that you might find it difficult to differentiate legitimate one.

Use updated softwares

How sensitive is your operating systems? One sure way you can avoid scams is to ensure all your operating systems are updated regularly. If you are on Windows 10 for instance, this is updated regularly, and make sure your turn on your Window Defender. This scans your system regularly for virus, and will even remove them before you know it.

Beware of downloading some software, that hide others. You will think you are downloading one but instead there are two. Avast for instance automatically will turn off your Windows Defender to make it work, but Window Defender is more powerful than Avast.

Never use autofill on any website

There are sometimes forms to fill, or perhaps you need to complete your details on some website to conclude your purchase. Never permit any autofill, make sure you enter your details one by one yourself. Autofill allows anyone who have access to your data to know these details automatically, and your details can be compromised.

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