Shop Safe Online
Over 60% of the world population is online. And over a quarter of those users are online shoppers, amounting to nearly 1.2 billion users. This holiday season, online shopping is projected to be at an all-time high of $5.5 trillion–more than a 12% increase from last year. What that means is that more and more people are shopping online–including you and me: we shop online today more than ever before!
With online shopping come risks. Cybersecurity is paramount for us now more than ever before. We must be vigilant to guard against scams and schemes that cybercriminals seek to deploy to trip us up. In order to have a happy holiday season, we must also have a safe online shopping experience.
Follow these four tips for a safe and happy online shopping experience.
- Watch for red flags
- Know who you’re purchasing from
- Make sure the deal is legit
- Pause before you purchase
Watch for red flags
Red flags should starting flying like crazy when you begin to feel pressured to buy something immediately. Cybercriminals will often be rude or pushy in trying to get you to fall for their scam. They will also use unusually specific ways to pay, such as with gift cards or cryptocurrency or certain applications.
If you do not know the seller, play it safe and pay with a credit card. Or simply shop elsewhere.
Know who you’re purchasing from
If you’re not sure about a seller, do some online research and look up reviews, both positive and negative, to get a fuller picture of who they are and how they handle their business. Check to see if anyone else has ever had trouble purchasing from them before. Look into whether they give refunds. Make sure they can ship to your location. Find out if they are really legit: remember that anyone can set up an online shop or market a social ad!
Again, if you do not know the seller, play it safe and use a credit card. Or better yet, shop elsewhere.
Make sure the deal is legit
Make sure that you are getting what you’re paying for: again, do online research, make sure the business is legit, and look out for “hidden” fees. If a fee seems unreasonable or illegitimate, cancel your order and shop elsewhere. While shipping and handling fees are normal, be wary of product storage fees, fake COVID-related costs, special handling fees, and the like.
If a deal is too good to be true, it probably is.
Pause before you purchase
Before you hit that “buy now” button, take a moment and ask a trusted friend, coworker, or family member for their perspective. You might get caught up in the moment of the purchase and buy something that really isn’t what you bargained for. You want to make a purchase with a cool head as well as really know you’re going to get what you think you’re going to get.