As the festive season starts hitting full swing, everyone is gearing up to spend big on presents for the whole family. Let’s be honest, since the impacts of COVID-19, online shopping has become one of the best ways to get the gifts you want without the fuss. But online shopping isn’t without its dark side. From dodgy websites to online scammers, we’ve compiled our top four tips on how you can avoid online risks and enjoy your online shopping this festive season and beyond.
1. Know your website
Any well-known website that has been around for a while will have an online footprint. Completing a quick check of reviews across various sites and social media can provide insight into previous customers’ experiences.
Using sites like ProductReview.com or Google can be a great source of information when it comes to confirming the legitimacy of the website in question.
It can also be helpful to check the social media presence of the store or brand in question. Do they have an Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook page? Are people engaging with their pages? Are there any reviews – good or bad? We always suggest checking out the comments section as some companies will not allow reviews to be posted but people will complain in post comments.
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2. Make sure your site is connected securely
When connecting to a website, always make sure you are connecting over HTTPS with a valid security certificate. Check your browser’s URL bar for the PADLOCK icon, which indicates a secure connection.
Reconsider doing business with a website if it will not connect over HTTPS. An attacker could be listening in to your traffic and sniffing out personal information to take advantage of this festive season, such as your banking details.
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3. Pay with peace of mind
When buying online this festive season and beyond, stick with legitimate payment methods.
It’s always best to ensure you are using secure payment methods such as PayPal, BPAY, or your credit card. These methods offer a buyer protection element which means these service providers will jump in to help recover your money if your eligible purchases don’t go to plan. The flip side of the coin is that unsecured payments – like bank transfers or cryptocurrency – don’t protect you if your money is stolen or lost, so you are less likely to get your money back.
Remember, you’re your own final wall of defence so protect your information as much as you can.
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4. Check with someone you know
If you’re still not sure after all your efforts to check if the website is legitimate, ask someone you know to help. They might have used that store before or can help confirm if the website is legitimate. A 10-minute conversation with a trusted friend or family member could save you the heartache of losing your hard-earned money.
With these tips, some robust detective work, and the tools we have on hand such as Google, you can keep yourself and your money safe this festive season.
On behalf of our crew at Kinetic IT, we wish everyone a safe and fun festive season this year.