Tips For Safe Online Shopping – How to Know You Can Trust a Website
There are millions of websites on the internet right now and more added every day. Unfortunately, some of these websites are set up to scam people out of their money. So how can you be sure you’ve found a legitimate website when you’re shopping online and you come across a site you’ve never heard of? Here are some tips to sort the frauds from the fabulous.
1. Type the URL of the website (XXXX.com) or the name of the web store into a search on an internet search engine like Yahoo or Google with the word “review” after it. You should be able to tell a lot about the website from the summaries of all the results provided for you. There are also websites that have been set up specifically to just rate other websites, so you can check those for even more information. Remember, though, that one bad review doesn’t necessarily mean a website is a scam operation.
2. Check the website for the company’s returns policies, privacy policies, an “About Us” page and contact information. These should all be fairly easy to find and can give you some good information about the company. If the company doesn’t want to tell you anything about themselves, there may be a reason for it.
3. The business should have a physical address listed somewhere on their website. Returned items or payments have to be mailed somewhere and the customer service department probably enters some sort of building to go to work. If you only see a Post Office box or other nondescript address, try calling their customer service phone number and ask for more information about the company that way.
4. Use a credit card or well established online payment service (like PayPal) that protects you against unauthorized charges. Even the most responsible people sometimes get scammed, so it’s always good to have a back-up plan. Banks are usually willing to work with customers who suddenly see irregular charges on their statements and report suspected fraud. Many banks and credit card companies even have entire departments devoted to internet cases. Make sure you know your bank or credit card’s policies before you need to take advantage of them.
5. The last thing to consider is that sometimes it isn’t a specific website that’s giving out your information but a virus already on your own computer. These viruses can see and copy your secure payment information and passwords. You may want to consider anti-virus software if you feel your computer may be at risk. Do some research (like calling customer service at the company that made your computer) to find the best program for you, there are tons out there! Many computers even come with protection software pre-installed.