There are many reasons to love online shopping, like the convenience and a wide selection of products. But is online shopping safe? Online shopping is an increasingly popular way of purchasing goods, but it’s not always secure. You only need to know how to shop wisely. Shopping online can make you a victim of data breaches, identity theft, fake online stores. Also, with so many retailers now offering free delivery, the risk of package theft and home invasion is high.
Research shows that global retail e-commerce sale was $4.9 trillion in 2021 with a projected 5.5 trillion in 2022. Over the next four years, researchers expect this sum to rise by almost 50%, to reach $7.4 trillion by 2025. This signifies that we should learn how to shop safely online because it appears it is here to stay and may one day be your only option.
What Is Online Shopping?
Online shopping is the act of purchasing products or services over the Internet from a computer, tablet, or mobile device. For example, you can browse online retailers’ websites to find items they might want to buy. You then place your order on these sites by filling out information like shipping and billing address contact details for carrier delivery (e.g., email addresses). You also provide payment details, such as credit cards and other forms of payment, if available.
Benefits of Online Shopping
Online shopping comes with many benefits. Here are some that will answer the question “is online shopping safe?” Read on.
1. Online Shopping Is Convenient
One of the many reasons to love online shopping is convenience. When you shop for items online, you don’t have to waste time driving from one store to the next or deal with traffic on the roads for hours. Instead, you can stay at home and select your products and shipping options without ever having to leave your couch.
2. Online Shopping Has 24/7 Access
Another reason to love online shopping is the convenience of it. So many people enjoy shopping at their leisure and do not have any time constraints. With this accessibility, you can buy products at any time of day or night.
3. Wide Selection of Products
It’s also worth noting that you’ll have access to a wide selection of products when shopping online. In addition, with so many retailers offering free shipping, you can easily find what you need without having to leave your home. The only thing that might hinder this is if you are looking for something specific and can’t find it in your size or the color you want.
If you’re trying to decide between two similar items, then shopping online will be helpful. This is because all information about the product is there, like reviews and its features. If there are no reviews on an item, that should raise a red flag!
What Are the Risks of Shopping Online?
- Identity theft: Hackers frequently steal your personal information to purchase your credit card and then sell it on the black market. They can also use your information to commit fraudulent activities like stealing.
- Data breaches: Hackers find ways to gain access to retailers’ databases and steal credit card information and other personal data.
- Fake websites: Can easily fool shoppers looking for a good deal. So ensure you’re buying from a reputable seller with a secure website (look for https:// at the beginning of the website link).
- Package theft or home invasion: Shopping online is a common risk because packages are delivered to your doorstep.
- Lack of customer service: You may not have any recourse if something goes wrong with your order or experience any issues with customer service. Some e-retailers offer limited or no phone support for their customers. So you could end up being left out in the cold if something goes wrong.
Tips for Safe Online Shopping
Shop with these tips in mind, and you’ll be able to enjoy your online shopping experience safely.
1. Use Secure Links When Doing Online Shopping
A great way to protect yourself from these risks is to use secure links when you’re shopping online. Safe links have encryption and secure connections between your device and the website you’re visiting. This way, if someone tries to track your activity or steal information, they won’t be able to get through the security measures.
2. Share Your Information with a Trusted Source
You can share your information with a trusted source, like a bank. If you have an account with them, they can monitor transactions for things that may look suspicious or out of place. For example, if your card is hacked and used fraudulently, the bank can cancel before more damage occurs.
3. Educate Yourself About Scams on the Internet
Knowledge is power. You can educate yourself by simply reading about common scams that happen online. This helps you prepare in case something similar occurs.
4. Always Shop From Reputable Online Platforms
Is online shopping safe with all the scamming stories going around? With the rise of new online stores every day, it’s tricky to know which one is legitimate. Always shop for recognized brands like eBay, Etsy, and Amazon to prevent becoming a victim. To help you filter out suspicious ones, be on the lookout for websites that have flashy, generic designs.
5. Research the Seller’s Reputation
Before buying anything from e-retailers, ensure you research first and know their reputation. You can also do research online and ask around from friends and family members. Also, read online reviews to understand how other shoppers felt about the product and how it held up over time. Doing so will help you reduce the chances of getting fake products.
6. Be Cautious with Flash Sales
It’s good to know that a flash sale can sometimes bait individuals looking for something specific. The idea of making someone buy before they have time to think about the product is often considered unethical and unfair. It can hinder any shopping experience you may have with your favorite retailer.mThey may seem like great deals, but know that these sites don’t have an excellent return policy or refund system.
7. Use Credit Cards Instead of Debit Cards
Companies are not free to do whatever they want with your private financial information, even if they hold your card details. Using credit cards is safer than using debit cards or bank transfers because they have fraud protection. It’s nearly impossible for fraudsters to steal your credit card information without you knowing. In addition, if someone manages to use your credit card information, the bank will refund you in full.
8. Consider Using Gift Cards for Online Purchases
When you buy this card and activate it, you can use it to make purchases online. With no one else’s sensitive data at risk of theft or fraud, you can do this. Many people don’t realize how safer they might be by using a gift card instead of other payment methods.
9. Install Internet Security on Your Devices
Never resort to online shopping without first installing internet security on your devices. Ensure you have the most updated antivirus software and a firewall installed. This helps protect yourself from being hacked during online shopping, especially on public wi-fi or other unprotected networks. If possible, avoid public networks when doing your online shopping.
10. Make Price Comparisons Before Buying
One of the most common reasons consumers prefer to shop online is different prices for comparison. People can easily browse through multiple e-commerce websites and compare prices for a product they want at their convenience. In addition, it saves time wasted driving to the store and finding the item you want out of stock or too expensive for your budget.
How to Keep Your Deliveries Safe at Your Front Door
It’s good to take a few precautions when having products delivered to your home.
- Request signature confirmation: If you request a signature confirmation, the person delivering your package will need to get the recipient’s signature upon delivery. This usually means the delivery person won’t leave the package on your doorstep for anyone to take.
- Install doorbell cameras: This gadget is also known as a doorbell video. It lets you know who is at the door. It’s an excellent security measure that deters thieves from entering your house.
- Make sure your doorbell is properly working: If your doorbell isn’t working, it can make it much harder for people delivering packages to find you.
- Consider installing a security camera: Some people who live near busy streets or in neighborhoods with high package theft rates install security cameras in their homes. This way, they can see who is coming up to their front steps and watch over their packages while they’re delivered.
- Leave the lights on – Turning on the light when someone comes to deliver your package often makes them feel safer and more comfortable completing the delivery.
Secure Your Home with ONIT
Is online shopping safe? Yes, but only when necessary precautions are put into consideration. You should purchase from reputable companies, use secure links, and educate yourself about common scams on the Internet to prevent risks associated with online shopping. Using smart security, such as doorbell cameras, can also help prevent parcel theft at your doorstep and improve your home security. You can purchase these cameras from a reputable company. They will assess your needs and provide a suitable solution.
Visit our website to learn more about online security or call us at 1-800-610-2145 today for all your online security systems needs. We’re ONIT!