Online shopping, what’s not to like about leisurely scouring various sites for what you need this festive season, and at a click of a button, it’s yours?
With the advent of Covid-19 and stay at home regulations coming into force, the shift towards a more digital world has triggered an increase in online shopping that looks set to outlast the pandemic.
According to a survey carried out by Statista.com in May 2020, some 52 percent of US adults reported taking to online shopping with one of the most significant shifts being in the purchasing of groceries.
But the convenience of online shopping can come at a price. For where there is money, there are scams, which has led to the FBI issuing a press release on the rise of online holiday scams. So how do you protect your hard-earned cash when purchasing online?
Tried and Trusted Services
Shop in haste, repent at leisure. A typical online scam starts with a bogus website mimicking trusted retailers. Familiar slogans and logos can make it extremely difficult to distinguish the real thing. Offering items at a fraction of the cost with the promise of free overnight delivery, these scam artists exploit the premium online shoppers put on price and speed of delivery.
By sticking to a tried and tested delivery service, you will not be tempted to fall for this ploy. Look for an established delivery service such as Couriers Chicago, which operates 24/7. They will pick up your online orders for groceries, restaurant food, and other perishables, as well as packages and purchases, and deliver them directly to your doorstep on the same day.
Secure Shopping Accounts
Although it is impossible to control how secure a retailer’s online payment system is, there are several steps you can take to make it more difficult for would-be scammers.
Try using a different username and password for each account you set up with an online retailer. Setting up a separate email account for online shopping purchases is also a good idea.
Look at Website Domains
Get into the habit of looking at your browser’s address bar, which contains vital information about where you are directed to online and how secure the page is. Most fraudulent websites use domains such as ‘. bargain’ instead of ‘.com’ or ‘.net’. Never trust an HTTP website with your personal information Ever.
Trust Your Instincts
An offer that is too good to be true normally is. No legitimate company will be selling the latest iPhone for $20 or providing big discounts exceeding 55 percent that would put other online stores out of business.
Double-Check the Retail Site
It pays, in the long run, to be vigilant. Check out the retailer’s online site. Look for reviews and complaints. Also, look at the contact us page to verify if the information is correct. If they only have a fill-in contact form or a customer email account at Yahoo or Gmail, be wary. Shoddy website design is a dead giveaway, as is the use of language.
Do Your Homework
Research an unfamiliar product or brand you intend to buy and type in the word scam or complaint behind it. The internet is a wonderful tool for exposing criminal activity.
Also, read the exchange and refund policies carefully. If they are vague, take your business elsewhere.
And, stay away from sites that require you to download software or enter personal information to access discount coupons.
Be Online Savvy
By keeping your wits about you and performing these basic checks, you can have a stress and scam free shopping experience online from the comfort of your couch this Christmas.