How To Make Sure That You Are Buying From A Reputable Store Online
Whilst the media and various people love to harp on about how unsafe shopping online is, there are various things that as a user you can do to make sure that the site you are buying from is indeed safe, secure and reputable.
Do Some Research – With just a quick copy and paste of the online stores name into Google, you will soon be able to see what is going on and whether you should use that site to buy anything from. Because the search results are so instant these days, you can quickly see if any other user has had problems with them or if they have flagged them as a potential danger, so it’s vital that if you are unsure you do spend some time researching.
Check Postal Address – Many of the “fake” websites and online shopping scams fail to do the basics, which is why they can be easy to spot quickly. One of the things many of these fake sites lack is a postal address, because with just a few clicks in Google you can check the postal address exists and that the company does actually exist there.
Payment Methods – An established company will normally accept a range of payment methods, with things like Sagepay, Paypal and Google Checkout the ones to look out for when buying online. If the site will only take BACS, Cash or Cheque, walk away, because you have no comeback if the purchase did turn out to be fraudulent.
Browser Padlock – All of the major browsers such as Internet Explorer, Chrome and Firefox can recognise when a shop has a security certificate, which means that it usually safe to order from. When you land on a site and go through to checkout, make sure that this page has the padlock, which can vary in terms of location on the browser, but this will then give you the added security that this site is safe to purchase on.
Reviews – If the company has had previous sales from happy customers then they will have encouraged them to leave reviews, so this can also be a good way of making sure that the company has previously fulfilled orders and is therefore safe to use for your needs.
Reputation – Most online stores will have some kind of user following, whether they exist solely online or have a range of high street stores that they also sell through. Ask around your friends, family, colleagues and loved ones and ask if they have heard of this online shop or if they know anyone that has.
And finally, there is a saying that if something looks too good to be true then it generally is, so if you think the offer looks unfeasible or far too cheap, then sometimes it is simply better to walk away just in case you are going to get taken in by a scam.