online shopping tips and tricks

online shopping tips to save money
online shopping tips to save money

The internet is a rich resource of a wide variety of goods and services, which can easily be purchased with a few clicks of our mouse or by tapping our fingers, wherever we are and whenever we want.

Indeed, freedom to shop online is at our fingertips.  However, with freedom comes responsibility.   

As smart and savvy e-consumers and online shoppers, it is our lookout and responsibility to ensure that we are protected when we transact in the online environment, be it on: 

  • the merchant’s own website; 
  • an e-marketplace/ online mall; or 
  • a social networking site.

Following are some tips before shopping online and completing your transaction:

  1. Make sure you’re buying from a real online address. Not all people buy from safe online shops like Amazon or eBay. 
  2. Use a computer that is not for public use – preferably your own computer/laptop.
  3. Access secure shopping sites that protect your information if you want to purchase from a website, make sure it has SSL (secure sockets layer) encryption installed.
  4. Trust your instincts. When in doubt, don’t.
  5. Do not proceed with your transaction when You have any doubts on the merchant or on any step of the transaction process (e.g., payment, delivery). 
  6. Stay safe using secure connectionsSome people think Wi-Fi is a more important resource than water or food. We admit their arguments are fairly convincing.
  7. Update your browser, antivirus and operating system. Unpatched software is a frequent cause of malware infections. Online shoppers are most at risk because of this, due to the sensitive information involved.
  8. Keep an eye on your bank account. Malicious hackers really want your credit card data, and online shops are the best place for them to get their hands on such information.
  9. Don’t fall for their tricks. Having the right security programs will go a long way in improving your safety when buying things online.
  10. Keep a record of your transactions. If you are a frequent online shopper, it may be difficult to remember from which site you bought a certain product.
  11. Ensure that online payment is secure and reliableCheck that the shipping information page and payment information page are secure (i.e., the website address should show a closed padlock icon; https and not only HTTP). Verify the existence of a reliable payment facility. 
  12. Hold on to your receipts and destroy them when not needed. We strongly recommend you keep the receipt for your purchase, just in case you need to confirm it again, as well as for warranty and return issues.
  13. Use a credit card, not a debit card. Credit cards have some extra-legal defences built in that make them safer to buy stuff with compared to debit cards.
  14. Transact with a reputable website/merchant/seller. Use trusted websites rather than using search engines for shopping. Determine the legitimacy/authenticity of the website.  
  15. Do your research: do comparison shopping and ask around. Visit several websites and do comparison shopping not only of the products and services but the prices, customer service/after-sales service, shipping/delivery, payment options, etc.
  16. Online shopping need not be a struggle, it should be enjoyed – as long you feel confident, safe and secure. There is much to explore on the internet.

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