E4: The Pleasures & Perils of Online Shopping

In this episode of Two Cents Worth we’re talking about doing online shopping safely.

Buying online has grown in popularity especially with the restrictions imposed by Covid, it’s quick and convenient but there are some pitfalls that can leave you scammed – out of pocket and stuck with goods you can’t return.

Christine David founder of IT for Retirees has some important tips for safe shopping online.

She advises it is safe and secure as long as you stick to some important rules:

  • Check if your seller in reputable, is it a known brand, business or organisation?
  • Does the seller have any stores, and a contact phone number and email in case there are any issues? If you have never heard of them, they may not be legitimate.
  • Check the url, does it have a padlock symbol or https, the s means secure. Your credit card details will then be safely encrypted.
  • Ideally pay by Paypal, which is free, or use a debit card with a small amount of money on it specially for your online purchases to keep track. PayPal is an intermediary between the buyer and the seller, so the seller never has your financial information.
  • Use your home computer or tablet for purchases, make sure you have up to date virus protection switched on, and a strong password. Don’t use computers in hotels or public places for online purchases.
  • Do you know what you are buying? Check the size, weight and dimensions, read the details carefully. The photo is not always accurate. The onus is on you to know
  • There are realistic looking fake websites, one indication is the method of payment. Scammers will ask you to pay using a money order, pre-loaded credit card or wire transfer.
  • They may not offer PayPal.
  • Also watch out for fake online stores advertising on social media. If the prices are cheap, or the benefits sound amazing, then it may be a scam.
  • Search for reviews before purchasing. Give yourself a cooling off period to make sure you really want the item.
  • Check the return and refund policies with the seller, you may have to pay postage to return the goods.
  • Supermarket shopping online is safe with the same quality as the store but avoid buying easily damaged products such as figs, and products like seafood that can spoil if not kept cold.
  • If something goes wrong with the payment, call your bank or financial institution.

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