Online shopping is a great way to get whatever you need without having to go hunting for it in person. From huge retailers such as Amazon to small retailers such as the individual stores on Etsy, there’s something that caters to your needs, no matter how niche or strange. Non-cash payment options such as credit cards, online wallets, and even virtual checks are very common nowadays, which means it’s easy to buy online.
That simplicity, however, can easily be your downfall. If you’re not careful when you shop at online stores, someone could steal your personal or payment information and use it to commit fraud. That’s the last thing you want. Online shopping can be safe, simple, and easy; just make sure you take some precautions along the way.
Ensure the Site Itself Has Good Security
It doesn’t matter how well-meaning the owners of the site are; if the site itself isn’t secure, hackers can get your information as it passes from your computer into the site databanks. The first thing you should do is make sure the site has an SSL certificate, which encrypts the data you’re sending. Rather than sending your personal and payment information in plain text, which is easy to intercept and use against you, a site with an SSL certificate ensures that your information doesn’t get into the wrong hands.
Do Some Reverse Image Searches
If a site isn’t actually selling anything, or it’s selling cheap knock-off products, it won’t have real items to photograph and put up on its website. The site will source preview images from somewhere else, likely from other, more reputable, websites. By performing a reverse image search, you can see whether the pictures are original. It’s especially important to do this if the pictures seem like they’re all in different styles. Knock-off stores generally offer a variety of products and source their images from various genuine stores, so the images will all look different.
Watch Your Personal Information After Buying
Even if you’re buying from a site with an SSL certificate and no obvious warning signs, there’s always the possibility that someone will intercept the information you’ve submitted and use it against you. Whenever you make a purchase from a new online store, make sure you keep an eye on any accounts you used. You need to be able to notice if there’s any suspicious activity as soon as it happens. It’s rare that you’ll actually end up having a problem, but if you do, it’s important to tackle it as soon as it happens.
Research the Company You’re Buying From
Sometimes, it’s hackers and scammers that you have to worry about, but the companies that try to sell you these items can be just as dangerous. Whether you end up getting a knock-off item that isn’t worth what you paid for it, or the company has no intention of sending you anything in the first place, unscrupulous companies are an important thing to watch for. To do it effectively, use PeopleFinders.
With PeopleFinders, you can research the companies you’re going to buy from and ensure they’re actually who they claim to be. Do a bit of research and find out the names of the company owners if you can, and then perform a people search on those names. Do these people exist? Are they located in the area the site claims? You can also perform an address lookup on any locations that the site lists for headquarters, return centers, distribution centers, or warehouses. Are these addresses owned by the people who claim to run the business? Do the addresses even exist? With PeopleFinders, you can answer all these questions and feel safer when you make your online purchases.
There’s no surefire way to avoid even the potential of having your personal data intercepted online. However, by taking some very simple common sense precautions, you can decrease your chances significantly. You can also ensure that if something does happen, you catch it nearly immediately. No matter what you’re planning to buy, make sure you use PeopleFinders to scout it out before you make your purchase. It’s the best way to keep your personal information to yourself, avoid wasting money on scammers, and have a great online shopping experience.
Image attribution: pogonici – stock.adobe.com