How to shop online with confidence: There is nothing more terrible in the world than finding a charge of a few thousand euros on the monthly statement of your credit card for something that has never been purchased. If such a thing has happened to you, there is no point in continuing to ask yourself what happened, because the answer is quite obvious: your credit card has been cloned . Question: Have you been shopping on the Internet lately? Well, someone has surely intercepted your credit card information and is shopping wildly for you.
You must now block your credit card, file a complaint with the Postal Police and cross your fingers, hoping for a refund from your bank. In short, everything you could want from life! If you want to prevent such an unpleasant episode from happening again in the future, you need to know how to shop online safely .
Since you are already here, how about if I give you some “tips” that can be useful to avoid falling victim to online scams again? Yup? Well, then make yourself comfortable, take all the time you need to focus on reading the next paragraphs and, more importantly, put into practice the tips you will learn in the next few minutes. Happy reading and happy online shopping!
Check the reliability of e-commerce
To shop safely online, you must first check the reliability of the e-commerce in which you shop, especially if it is a little-known store. In this way you will avoid shopping on online stores artfully created by some cybercriminal.
In order to verify the security of an e-commerce site, perhaps use some ad hoc solution, such as SiteAdvisor (if you remember, I already told you about it in the tutorial in which I explain how to find out if the websites you visit are safe ), and Check from the address bar of the browser in use that the shop you are buying from uses the HTTPS (HyperText Transfer Protocol over Secure Socket Layer) protocol, which indicates that you are in front of a secure connection.
In addition to the safety of the online stores where you shop, also make sure of their reliability by analyzing their Web Reputation , or the opinion that Web users have towards them. To do this, visit some online portal where users express their opinion (eg TrustPilot ) or some social network such as Facebook or Twitter . If from your “investigations” you find negative or completely absent reviews, I recommend you change shops to avoid running into bad surprises.
Always remaining on the subject of reliability, check some references regarding the site from which you intend to buy a certain product, such as the VAT number , any telephone numbers available, a physical address , the registered office , the paid-up capital and further company data. If a site doesn’t reveal that information, it probably doesn’t want to be traceable and it may have something to hide. Better to be wary of those who do not reveal details about themselves.
Check the reliability of the seller
Checking the seller’s reliability is another aspect to which you would do well to pay due attention, especially if you have decided to make purchases on Amazon and eBay (if you buy from small online stores, in fact, you can check the seller’s reliability by following the tips I mentioned in the previous chapter, then checking the reliability of the website itself).
To check the reliability of a seller, you can use the feedback system integrated in the vast majority of large online stores. Thanks to the feedback issued by users who have purchased from a seller, it is in fact possible to get an idea of how reliable the latter is without having to run the risk of dealing with a potential scammer.
But be careful, because some users “inflate” their feedback (in this guide , for example, I showed you how easy it is to do this on eBay) with the aim of deceiving users and perpetrating real scams to the detriment of this ‘past.
In order not to be fooled by these “clever” sellers, do not stop to take a look at the simple numerical votes, but also take the time to read the comments made by users so as to find any negativity regarding the seller from whom you would like to buy a product or “unmask “Unlikely comments (eg comments that are too enthusiastic or written in incorrect Italian).
Make sure your PC is not infected
Making sure your PC isn’t infected is extremely important to avoid running into online scams. Therefore, before using your computer to make purchases on the Internet, follow the “tips” that I have given you in the tutorials in which I explain how to understand if a PC is spied on and how to clean your computer from viruses in order to find and eventually eliminate the malware that is holed up on your PC.
Ah … I almost forgot! If you usually shop online from your smartphone or tablet, make sure that the latter do not also host spy software. You can do this by following the tips contained in the tutorial where I explain how to locate and eliminate spy software from your smartphone.
Do not shop from devices used by other users
Since the devices of your family members or those of your friends could host malware and spy software, do not shop online using the devices of other users because you could run the serious danger of being stolen strictly personal data such as yours credit card. Of course, this also applies (indeed, above all!) To devices made available in public places (schools, libraries, Internet Points and so on).
Also avoid shopping on the Internet when connected to public Wi-Fi networks , which are notoriously vulnerable to cyber attacks and data sniffing . Understand?
Use secure payment methods
Using secure payment methods is very important to avoid online shopping scams. Therefore try to use online cards and accounts (whenever possible) .
Among the cards currently on the market, you may be moving towards a product such as N26 : a direct bank based in Germany that allows you to open an account with costs starting from 0 € / month and to obtain a MasterCard debit card usable throughout the world to make purchases both online and in-store safely.
To underline, in terms of safety, support for 3D Secure (3DS) Mastercard SecureCode technology , which guarantees an extra level of security and helps prevent fraud when shopping online with N26, the availability of push notifications for every movement and the possibility to block the card at any time directly from the app. The card is also compatible with Google Pay and Apple Pay . The account can be opened in 10 minutes directly from the app for Android or iOS / iPadOS . More info here .
As for online accounts, you could consider using PayPal . Using PayPal offers many advantages: first of all, the possibility of transferring money without providing the bank details of your bank account or your credit card number. This is a great advantage, isn’t it?
In addition to this, by making payments with PayPal, it is possible to join the PayPal Program for the protection of the buyer , thanks to which it is possible to be reimbursed the full amount of a purchase made (including the costs related to the shipping of the purchased product) if the product received does not comply with the description made by the seller, has signs of wear and / or damage not indicated in the description or if it is not delivered at all.
If you want to have more details about the PayPal Program for the protection of the buyer, go to the in-depth page that has been set up right on the PayPal website .
Other useful tips
To shop safely online , there are many other useful tips that you would do well to keep in mind before you go shopping in cyberspace.
- Carefully evaluate the ads of the sellers – this is important to avoid falling into the “clutches” of some attacker. So be wary of adverts that appear to be incomplete, misleading or ambiguous. Also, if an offer seems to be ” too good to be true “, it is probably … not true at all!
- Be careful of phishing – if you receive e-mails containing suspicious links that refer to websites where you are told to enter data about your credit card to make online purchases of heavily discounted products, do not click on it: it could be an attempt of phishing. If you have been receiving a lot of such emails lately, try to remedy the situation by implementing the tips contained in the tutorials in which I explain how to fight spam and how to block unwanted emails .
- Compare multiple offers – doing this will allow you to get an idea of the real price of a particular product, which could warn you about “suspicious” prices.
- Keep the details of the purchase – in this way you can prove that you have actually paid the seller, should the latter say otherwise.
- Periodically check the balance of your credit card or bank account – in this way you can immediately notice “suspicious” movements and you can block them in the bud. In addition, some lenders offer solutions to combat the phenomena of online scams. Contact your credit institution to find out if there is a chance to benefit from one of these services.