Most wise online shoppers exercise caution when shopping online, just as they would be cautious shopping in person at a store. Our privacy provides us with protection and having that privacy taken from you and used by a thief, makes practicing safe shopping techniques a hard lesson to have to learn. Still, some people want to be safe online shoppers but do not know how to do so. If you could use a refresher course on the things that you can check to see if a website is safe for online shopping, here are four good places to start:
1.Check the web address for “https” (not “http”)
Legitimate businesses often put forth the effort to show their customers that they are a credible business by using what is called the SSL protocol on their website. When the SSL protocol is active you will see the letters “https” in front of the web address.
The “s” at the end of the “http” stands for secure. If it is not there you do not have the guarantee that the SSL protocol is in place.
The “https” also signifies that the business has been granted a digital certificate that indicates that the business is a trusted party that has been checked by the appropriate authorities and is safe to do business with. If in visiting a site you receive a message stating that the digital certificate of the owner has expired, proceed with caution.
2.Big name = Better safety
Good sellers are those with legitimate physical addresses and contact information as well as a known reputation for being dependable.
You cannot judge whether or not a company is legitimate based solely on the appearance of their website.
Another on-screen indicator that the website you are visiting is safe and secure is a closed or locked padlock symbol. The padlock should be an icon in the bottom left of the screen or in the window frame with the browser itself. (Scammers can duplicate a padlock on the screen much more easily than one found in the browser so look for the browser icon first).
The padlock symbol can be clicked on to reveal the status of their certificate of security and to indicate whether or not the certificate has in fact been registered to the web address that you are currently shopping on.
4. Beware of scams
The number one rule of avoiding scams is to be on your guard and to be suspicious of product claims that do not sound right. Follow the rule of, “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”
E-mail is not a safe means for the transfer of delicate data. Even a site with protection cannot assure that same protection to be present in e-mail correspondence. Under no circumstances should you send financial information via an e-mail and more especially never send personal information such as a birth date and social security number via e-mail.
If you are unsure as to whether or not what you are seeing is a scam look into it by contacting the Better Business Bureau Online. If the Better Business Bureau gives the site a clean history then you are probably safe to proceed with your transaction.