I'll tell you a little story. Some time back I ordered some hair accessories online. When they came to me they were very different to what I had ordered. The store owner refused to cooperate. I still managed to get my refund. I'll tell you how.
How to Shop Online Safely
Security like charity begins at home. Check your own computer first. Is it your private computer or are you sharing the computer? If you are sharing a computer with your colleagues, ensure that you log out every time you leave the desk.
Linked with tip 1 is tip 2.
Say No to Public Wi-Fi
Do not use public wi-fi to do online shopping or online banking. Are you in a store, a restaurant, a mall or at an airport? The person sitting next to you may be a hacker. He will siphon off your data even as you are working on your computer or on your mobile phone. Before you can say Jack Robinson, your funds will be transferred into his account. If you have to shop online in public places, use your mobile data. You can use things like VPN. VPN is virtual private network. It creates an encrypted network that overrides public wi-fi. VPN is not foolproof. Many platforms or many e-commerce stores will block you. You will have to fill out the captcha codes. The ecommerce portals or stores would want to make sure that you are an actual human and not a robot.
Create a Wish List
I would suggest that you surf the e-commerce stores on mobile. Do the actual shopping from the privacy of your home on your laptop or your desktop. You can create a wish list or put all the products that you have selected in your shopping cart. Most websites save your shopping cart. You can come back to an abandoned shopping cart later. You can conclude the shopping experience on your private computer.
Install Anti-Virus Software
Install anti-virus software on your computer. This would keep your personal data encrypted.
Use PayPal or Google Wallet
If you need to shop online on a mobile, use apps like PayPal or google wallet. The little story i told you right at the beginning? When i bought those hair accessories and didn't get what i was looking for? I could get my payment retracted because i had made a payment through PayPal.
Avoid Phishing Sites
We are hearing about rogue e-commerce stores which look fairly real. They are just out to do some phishing i.e., trying to get your credit card details out of you. How can you figure out if a store is fake or it is genuine. You would say you are safe, because you shop at the big stores like Amazon or Ebay. If you are confining yourself to a few platforms you are missing out on all the indie stores. Small businesses work hard to bring unique products to you. There is a strong movement for supporting small business. Use your discretion and find out which is a safe website.
Shop from .com.au sites
I am a big fan of the .com. au url. You can get a .com or . anything but you cannot get. com.au unless you are a bona fide business registered in Australia. A business registered in Australia with a valid ABN can have a .com.au URL. If you see a .com.au it is a safe website
Look for https:// and Padlock
Ensure the site you are shopping from is encrypted. It is a secure site. Look for the padlock in the address bar followed by https xyz.com or xyz.com.au or xyz.net. The https and the padlock ensures that the site is safe and encrypted
Many of us go straight to the product and shop.
Read the About Us and FAQ Pages, Return Policy, Reviews
Take a minute to read a few other pages on the website. Does it have an About Us page? Is there concrete information on teh About Us page? Who are the people behind the website? What are they about? What is their qualification? What is their experience? Have they received any awards? Have they received support from the government? Anyoe can talk about airy-fairy things - best possible website, fabulous discounts. Look for concrete, focused and relevant information. Go through the reviews and the testimonials. Do they have some kind words from their customers? Read the faq page, the return and refund policy. This information will help ensure the authenticity of the website.
Contact the Seller
If in doubt, get in touch with the vendor. The other day a client asked me where are you based? Are you based in Melbourne, Australia? Or are you sending from overseas. I said I am based in Australia. Some of Deidaa's products are made in Australia. Others are made by artisans overseas. I am based in Australia. We send out all the products from our own warehouse in Australia. No drop shipping happens at Deidaa.
Online Shopping - Upsides
Online shopping can be a happy experience. It requires discretion on your part. Look at the upside. There are no traffic snarls, no parking lot spats, no serpentine cues in front of claustrophobic trial rooms. You can shop from the privacy and comfort of your home in your jammies, from your couch or bench top, sipping a glass of wine, in the middle of the night. If you get stuck in spite of everything send a message to Deidaa. Get some elf help from Deidaa.
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