How to shop online safely?

Who doesn’t want to shop online? There are plenty of bargains, have your package delivered and everything is one click away from you. You can save money, time and buy whatever and whenever you want. You can also avoid crowded stores, easily compare your prices and visit unlimited stores at the same time. Shopping has never been easy so far. Well, like everything in our life, online shopping is not 100% risk-free. If you are aware of the potential danger of online shopping, you can eliminate most of the risks or reduce having a bad experience. There are 7 golden rules you need to consider.

1. Research the company or seller before you buy

If you are planning to shop online, it’s very important to research the company or the seller before buying from them. Make sure the business has a physical address and phone number, so you can contact them if things go wrong. You can ask your family or friends who have bought from the seller, or check online forums and reviews.

You can also lookup their Australian Company Number (ACN) via the ASIC website or you can look up their Australian Business Number (ABN) via the ABN lookup website.

2. Only shop from secure websites

You can easily reduce your risk by checking a few things. How can you understand the website is secure?

Firstly, you can shop online on any website which has an SSL certificate. If you look at the URL that starts HTTPS:// instead of HTTP://.

Secondly, you can check the locked padlock on the left side of the URL. If you click or double click on the padlock, you will be able to see the details of the site security.

Thirdly, if you search them via your search engine, you can see the green secure label on the right provided by your antivirus software.

3. Protect your privacy

Before shopping online always check their security policy. How long are they keeping your credit card details? How are they protecting your details from hackers or from their own employees? Shopping City is not storing your credit card details. We are only keeping your basic details to send your parcels such as name, address, email and phone number.  If any online store asks more, I recommend staying away from it. For more information about protecting your privacy, please visit the Office of the Australian Commissioner website.

4. Use secure online payments

It is safer to use a credit card. Because credit card companies provide better liability protection than other payment methods. If you don’t like to give your credit card details you can use the payment services such as PayPal. It is better to avoid bank transfers, checks by mail and sending cash.

5. Place your orders from a secure connection

It is recommended to avoid shopping from public Wi-Fi such as your favourite coffee shop or library. If you want to protect your sensitive information such as credit card numbers, it is better to shop from your secure home internet connection.

6. Always check company shipping terms, warranty terms and return/refund policy.

Make sure you read and understand the terms and conditions, the refund/return policy, the warranty conditions, delivery details and any costs related to return or repair.

7. Use a strong password for your account

Most of the online stores will often ask you to create an account with a password when you make a purchase. You may skip creating an account and continue your shopping as a guest. But it is really convenient if you are planning to buy more things from the same store at different times. If you do want an account, make sure to use a unique and strong password.

How can we choose a good password:

  • Passwords should be a mixture of upper and lower case characters, numbers and special characters.
  • Passwords should be at least 8 characters long.
  • Avoid using your personal information as a password such as your name, your pet’s name or your favourite food.
  • Never use the same passwords on all sites. Always use different passwords for each account.

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