Security is still regarded as one of the largest barriers inhibiting online shopping whereby consumers are reluctant to shop online through fear of online theft or having their confidentially breached. 

While we recognise that there are evil perpetrators out there who are looking to take advantage of the naive Internet user, it is important to remember that most reputable online shopping websites where online transactions are concluded take a very proactive stance on Internet Security.

 However, here are some basic safe shopping guidelines that online shoppers can follow to ensure that their online shopping experience is fun, comfortable, safe and secure.

Make sure the website that you are dealing with is reputable and has a positive reputation amongst its community. See if they offer testimonials, references or a forum whereby its users can openly post notes about their experience on that particular website.

Ratings & Testimonials

If the website you are transacting with provides a platform whereby buyers can purchase from various sellers in an e-Commerce environment, check if the website offers a rating system that allows users to rate one another based on their experiences. The more you can find out about the people you are conducting trades with the better judgment you will have in order to make informed purchasing decisions.

Guard Your Password

Never give any of your Internet passwords to anyone including the owners of the website in question. While your username may be visible to everyone, your password is not and it should always remain completely confidential.

Beware of Phishing Scams

Beware of Phishing scam artists. Phishing is a type of e-mail scam designed to steal your personal data, such as credit card numbers, passwords, account data, or other information. These con artists design e-mail messages that appear to come from the websites that you trust, requesting you to provide them with personal information. The important thing to remember is that there is no reason for anyone to request your personal details if you have already registered on a site and disclosed this information in a secure environment.

Protect Your Credit Card

Credit card theft is the highest type of fraud conducted over the internet. So make sure never to disclose your credit card details to anyone over the telephone, in e-mails or on sms. Furthermore, before concluding a purchase on any website where you disclose your credit card details, make sure that you are in a secure website. Ensure that the address in your browser address bar is an https website; this is where the https is in front of the URL indicating that you are now in a secure session. You can also look out for a little yellow lock on the bottom right of the screen.

Avoid Pre-orders
Avoid paying upfront pre-ordered stock. Although to most of you this makes common sense you would be alarmed at the number of people that are caught out by this.

Warranties & Guarantees
Find out of the sellers or online stores offer any form of warranties, guarantees or buyer protection services. This reinforces the intention of trade between the buyer and seller and ultimately adds credibility to the seller and their items.

Too Good To Be True
Beware of deals that seem too good to be true. Be sure to do your research on the item that you are interested in buying and know the reasonable price range that you can expect to pay for an item. If an item seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Shipping Costs
Make sure that you are 100% comfortable that the seller is legitimate, that the seller’s ratings are good, that the shipping charges are reasonable and that the item’s description is a true reflection of what you are buying before making payment.

When In Doubt
The final and most important tip of all is, if at any stage you are not comfortable with any transaction, contact the website owners and discuss any concerns that you may have with them.
Online shopping is one of the most convenient and exciting ways to shop today and its ultimate explosion relies on how soon the majority of consumers get the elusive warm and fuzzy feeling about shopping online.

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