The advantages of online shopping are you don’t need to find parking spot in the mall, which sometime hard to find, especially at the weekend. Or maybe worries about virus diseases from other people in the mall. You also don’t need to dress up and look good to do shopping.
And if you notice, online shopping has the same problems as shopping in the mall, concerns about fraud, theft, etc. In real shopping mall, you know how to prevent this, but do you know to prevent it in online shopping? This article tries to give some tips for you to minimize the risk of shopping over the internet.
Secure your gadgets
The first thing you should do in online shopping security is secure your computer, smartphone, or tablet that you will use to shop. Hackers generally using Trojan (referring to a form of suspicious software that may damage a system or network. Additionally, Trojan also aims to obtain information from a target such as passwords, user habits that are recorded in the system log, and data. Trojans are also able to gain control of the target) to steal private data, such as CVV (Cardholder Verification Value) data of your credit card, or your ATM (Automated teller machine) password.
From couples of Trojan capabilities, below are specific capabilities that should be concerned regarding online shopping security:
*Some Trojan may allow remote access to your computer.
*Trojan can upload and download files without your knowledge.
*Trojan can gather your e-mail addresses.
*Trojan has “log keystrokes” that uses to steal information, such as passwords and credit card numbers.
If you have Trojans on your system your online shopping security would never be safe, even though you are shopping at a famous secure merchant. Therefore, make sure your security system is good and always updated before visiting the merchant site and make a deal.
To secure your online shopping activity from Trojans, make sure the Windows firewall on your PC is active and use antivirus equipped with complete protection against all Malware (Malicious Software). Microsoft actually has a software for this purpose called Microsoft Security Essentials, that you can download for free and match perfectly with your Windows 7 operating system, even the security update is integrated with Windows Update. But if you want other best alternative, you can choose between these three big names in antivirus product; Kaspersky, Norton, or BitDefender. And remember, never installed more than one security product in your system! That may cause performance issues, system instability, and the effectiveness of the security software.
If you use an Android mobile device, I recommend you use avast! Mobile Security as first choice, and Lookout Security & Antivirus as second choice. After the main problem has been resolved and safe, now you are ready to do some shopping.
Be careful clicking on links
I know most of you have experience receive incoming email or Instant Messaging messages about products, as well as the link to go to the product website. You should take precaution about this for the sake of your online shopping security, because online thieves also use this method. This online thief method usually will send you link to spoof website, and at the time you visit those site Trojan or any other Malware will be installed automatically.
My Android device is installed with online banking apps and shopping apps, I believe most of you have this too. Therefore, beside avast! Mobile Security app installed, I have simple motto “never click unknown links from email or instant messaging at all!
Know Your Merchant
Currently, you can find many merchants in cyberspace due to the online shopping boom. Many merchants are aiming to sell, but there also merchants who intended to commit fraud. Therefore, this online shopping security tip encourages you to find out a merchant profile before you make a transaction with them. Find reviews from other consumers on sites like Eopinions.com, search them on some online forums, or look through Google Shopping ratings.
Your online shopping activities shall be safer on the merchant's site that in collaboration with well-known shopping sites such as Amazon, Yahoo! Shopping, Retrevo or BizRate. Sites that have gained recognition from the original logo TRUSTe or Better Business Bureau (BBB Online) are also safer.
Know the Actual Price
The next tips, which similar with regular shopping tips, is make sure you have done a small survey to find out the price range of products that will be purchased. But beside that, in online shopping you should pay attention to shipping price, packaging cost, and tax as well. If the merchant's website says free shipping, make sure about that definition of free, for example free shipping may have certain conditions.
Let me recommend you tools that you can use for your price survey. The best tools I use so far is PriceGrabber, you may find and compare any kind of product and make price comparisons with this site. Second tools is Yahoo! Shopping that shall meet your need just fine.
In online shopping, the buyer can actually see the condition of the item after he paid the entire cost of the purchase and item delivered to them. So the risk to get defective goods is greater than shopping at the mall. Therefore, make sure the merchant has a procedure for returned goods and refund;
*If the item isn't as described, whether consumers will get their money back?
*Does the costs refunded including shipping cost that you had paid?
Other buyer protection policy you need to find out is about the item you purchased that never arrived at your door. For alternative to minimize this problem; Nowadays, many delivery services are online traceable. So, make sure the merchant uses this kind of delivery services and ask tracking number for your purchased item, which later on you can check on some website.
Read the Term of Service
The common thing that happens in online shopping is most consumers tend to ignore the Term of Service, although the merchant site has provided them. This consumer habits can be misused by merchant for finding a gap if the consumer asks for returned goods or refund regarding of defective goods.
Whether you shop directly to the merchant site or through online market, you should aware and carefully read the Term of Service provided. If the merchant site does not provide it, you need to be alert and question it.
Happy secure shopping!