COVID-19 has taken the world by storm. Within a few months, it has stopped all the outdoor activities and imprisoned us in our houses. As of 10th April 2020, a third of the global population is in lockdown to prevent any further spread of this deadly virus. These are tough times, and we must stay strong and change ourselves and our habits for the time being. This includes a halt in all sorts of outdoor activities and going out without a legitimate reason.
Consequently, the most worrisome question for many of us these days is how to shop if we cannot step foot outside? After all, shopping for groceries, clothes, household items, etc. is inevitable. The solution to this, of course, is to buy online. However, many of us have had horrible online shopping experiences so, here are 10 tips for shopping safely online during this lockdown.
When you start online shopping, the first thing that you come across is the vast array of different brands and websites. You are bombarded with so many different names that you are bound to get confused and intimidated. In these occurrences, the safest way out is to go with a trusted website and brand name. Something that you are familiar with and have had trusted experience with. This way, you would have to worry less about your shopping experience, and you could be relaxed.
DON’T TRUST THEM TOO MUCH
When you place an order online, websites are bound to ask you for a few details. This usually entails your name, email address, shipping address, contact information, and credit card/ debit card numbers. These are the norms and are the necessary information without which the websites cannot dispatch your order for obvious reasons. However, some websites fool you by asking a bit too much. This includes your social security number, date of birth, name of family members, and so on. Whenever this happens, know that the website is trying to scam you. Don’t trust them with this information because why would they possibly want your social security number if you are just ordering a couple of toilet paper rolls?
Prepaid credit cards are like a weapon to have when it comes to online shopping. They protect you from theft or online scams as they are FDIC protected. Moreover, they also help you to stay within your budget and save you a bit of money because they don’t charge interest. So basically, prepaid credit cards are like a bouquet of advantages.
GO FOR ENCRYPTED WEBSITES.
Online shopping is like a conversation between two people. You ask them what you want by putting keywords into the search bar, they find it for you, and you choose it and give them your information. Now, like any other conversation between two people, it is your right to have your privacy protected. This is why you should go for encrypted websites. They ensure that any communication between you and the other party is protected from any potential hacker, so you are safe to go.
Many of us have the habit of using the same password for different platforms. This is the first mistake that we make. By doing this, we create a domino effect. This means that if one account gets a password breach, we put all other accounts into risk. So, try to make different passwords for different accounts on different websites.
The second mistake that we make is by setting up super easy passwords; after the name of our pet, our spouses, our birthdays, and so on. This creates a very predictable pattern and puts your security at risk. So, mix up your passwords with different signs, symbols, and numbers.
AVOID POP UP ADS
Pop up ads are the most significant method of scamming. Some websites have pop up ads with e-newsletters or other benefits, while others have pop up ads that trick you by scaring you into clicking them. This includes warning flashes of viruses on your laptop, or sometimes it is by telling you that you won something. Whenever you come across these, remember to run away from them as fast as you can! These are nothing but scams so, keep an eye out for them.
MONITOR YOUR CREDIT CARD STATEMENT
Let us reinforce why we shouldn’t trust the websites too much. If you happen to avoid all the scams while shopping, the sites remain with one trick up their sleeve. This trick is to charge a little bit extra than the mentioned price on the website by adding unmentioned taxes or shipping costs. This is why you must check your credit card statement and try to catch them red-handed in time!
TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE DEALS
Scammers are very manipulative. They bait you into their trap by giving you deals that are too good to be true. Be wary of them and try to avoid them.
Sometimes, even despite our best efforts, online websites manage to sneak past us viruses that hide in our computers. This is why you should aid your computers with antivirus applications so they can find these viruses and terminate them.
Many of us are scared of shopping online due to some past traumatic experiences or stories heard from others. While yes, online scams are a thing, this doesn’t mean that you cannot have a safe online shopping experience. Just take the right steps and be careful. You got this!