The big bad world of Internet and online shopping is not such a scary place if you follow some basic safety tips.
1. Use your common sense!
I’m putting this first because it amazes me how many people seem to lack this! I have seen my fair share of people buy items online only to find the site dodgy and their credit card number stolen and used elsewhere. These people are now obviously reluctant to ever shop online again BUT seriously, if you exercise some common sense, you can avoid this most of the time.
If the site looks dodgy, it probably is dodgy. If something doesn’t feel right, don’t make the purchase. If you have questions to ask, email them first before making the purchase. Simple as that.
2. Secure server
Payments should ALWAYS be made through a secure server. There are a number of ways to identify whether a site is secure.
- When you get to the payments page, the web address should start with “https://”. Note the additional ‘s’ in the address – this stands for secure.
- At the bottom of the page, there should be a padlock and you should be click on the padlock. If the website is dodgy and tries to use a ‘fake’ padlock, when you click on it, it should say something along the lines of digital security isn’t signed or available.
Better yet, if you can, use Paypal which will provide buyer (and seller) protection and you can avoid providing the seller with your credit card details.
3. Buy from sites you know and trust
Well this all comes back to common sense. When people have a particular item to buy, say for example RayBan sunglasses, and want to see if they can buy it online cheaper, they tend to Google it. And Google will come up with all the search results and 7 or 8 times out of 10, you probably have never heard of the website. And you probably have no idea if it is a legit website selling real Ray Bans. My advice – don’t go there. A lot of these dodgy sites can manipulate or write certain programs so that their site comes up at the top of the search results when you type in certain words.
Buy only from sites or companies you have heard of or have purchased from before. If you have never bought sunglasses online, ask around for someone who has or go to a big brand department store site where you know it’s legit OR check out my online shopping directory for a list of reputable online stores.
Most overseas department stores have a great online presence with affordable shipping and unbelievably good customer service and returns policy that puts Australian retailers to shame. And the sad reality is that even with the international shipping fee, it can sometimes work out cheaper than buying it locally.
Happy smart shopping!