Gone are the days when girls used to form groups to go shopping for their homecoming dresses. Now, who has the time to indulge in such leisurely activities? Gathering round to try new dresses asking for opinions, finding matching shoes in the shoe section and then trying it all to get an idea about your look on the D-day – all these seem like a distant dream from a bygone era in the age of e-commerce.
With the idea of shopping online spreading, more and more people these days are turning to new e-commerce sites like eBay, Amazon and so on. There are a number of benefits of shopping online. For example –
- It’s time saving
- Offers a huge collection of items
- Allows you to search for products according to your budget, favorite brand, color, style and size
- Offers huge discount (there’s always discount in one or another ecommerce site)
- Delivers goods at your doorstep
- There’s always option to compare price
- You can also find a number of reviews online
Nowadays you can get everything from apparels to books and gadgets online. There are even special portals for each of the products. For example, in order to shop for special occasion dresses you can log on to sites like DressFirst and get a huge collection of apparels that suit your style, size and budget.
However, like every good thing in life, shopping online too has its own set of do’s and don’ts. Let’s discuss a few of them:-
Here are 5 must do rules of online shopping.
Know the site
Hackers try to spoof legitimate sites and imitate names of established retailers to get your financial information. Avoid sites with domain extensions like .ru, .cc or .cn (instead of .com). These extensions are not often used by legitimate retailers.
Verify the Site Is Secure
Look for “https” in the address bar, or a tiny padlock icon in the lower right-hand corner of your browser while checking out any online shopping site. This is a confirmation that the site has a certificate verifying its identity as an online business. This reduces the chance of fraudulent acts to a bare minimum.
Know What Information to Provide
A shopping site’s asking for your social security number, bank routing numbers or driver’s license number? Something’s wrong in here. They can ask for names, addresses, phone numbers and credit card numbers. But providing any other details is out of question.
Keep Track of Your Statements
If you ever notice a discrepancy, call the retailer and ask them to correct the error. If they do nothing about it, contact your credit card company directly to resolve the issue.
Download an Anti-Phishing Toolbar
These are tools that track down fraudulent sites. They will alert you if you visit any such site that asks for information under false pretenses. Tools from Netcraft or MyWOT.com are excellent.
Read the Returning Policies Carefully
Every site has its own returning policies. So before buying anything online do for the returning policies.
Now let’s talk about things you should not do.
Don’t Shop on Public Computers
Entering personal information on a public computer is always a risky business. Networks of café, library and other public places are easy target for the hackers and most businesses offering wireless service seldom monitor or control access. Many of these networks are infested with spyware and keystroke logger with which it is very easy to steal credit card information.
Don’t Believe Everything
If the deal is too good to be true then most probably it isn’t. Cyber-criminals may try to lure you to their site by offering unbelievably great prices. It is always better to stick to well-known sites.
Don’t Pay with a Debit Card
While paying with debit card, you will not be protected by law against fraud as well as undelivered goods the way you are protected while paying with a credit card.
Don’t Reload Confirmation Pages
If you keep trying to reload a confirmation page, a site may unintentionally charge you multiple times. Contact the retailer directly or check your credit card statement to confirm whether a charge was posted or not.
Don’t Use Your Personal Email for Shopping
Setting up a separate address for online shopping is a safe practice. This way you can keep your mailbox from flooding with promotional mails. However, Gmail at present has launched a feature to manage promotional emails. This will also protect the primary email address.
Take good care of these simple rules and you will be an ace online shopper in no time.