How to Shop Online Safely

Let's be honest, we have all been victims of an online shopping scam, whether it be a missing/broken/wrong product or overcharging on delivery costs. It has happened to me before and it can be frustrating. In today's blog post I want to share with you some of the little things that you can do when buying products online so that you are not ripped off, AKA robbed.

Have you ever wondered if the offer you've found online is too good to be true? We know you're concerned about shopping safely online and we understand your concerns. Here are some tips to help you out when shopping online, whether it's on your smartphone or on your desktop computer.


Use Google search to find more information on the item you intend to buy.

If you're going to buy something online, it's important to do your research. Before you click "buy," make sure you know exactly what you're getting yourself into.

For example: If you're buying a pair of pants, think about what kind of pants you want—are they dressy? Are they casual? Do they fit in with the rest of your wardrobe? Do the colors match? Do they come in other sizes? Are there any special details that might make them too difficult to wear?

The more questions you ask yourself, the better chance you have of making an informed decision and getting a product that will last a long time. Check the price of the item in other places to confirm if the price matches the quality of the product. If you are buying a gift for someone, find out what brand or store they like and use that.


Confirm the security certificate of the website.

When shopping online, you need to be concerned about identity theft. Because of this, you want to confirm the security certificate of the website. The security certificate is a green bar that appears in the address bar of your browser.

Is it a Secure Connection? Does the URL start with HTTPS? (HTTPS is safer than HTTP) Do you see this lock icon in the address bar? Make sure it's not just HTTPS:// and there's a lock icon on your screen. Not just the green bar that says the shop's name. That is easily faked. Ask yourself: Is the Lock green or grey?

One good way to reduce your risk of becoming a victim of credit card fraud or identity theft is to make sure you are shopping with secure websites that have a Secure Socket Layer (SSL). If you're looking to shop online, you should be doing so with a pinch of salt and maybe even an extra layer of protection. When you shop online, you are handing over your personal information, credit card details, and money to people that might not always have your best interests at heart. To make sure you don't fall for a scam, avoid falling for fake websites and protect your data from cyber crimes.



Check the "About us" section of the business.

Do your homework and make sure the company selling you their products or services is legitimate. Pay attention to details and don't take shortcuts here because you could fall into a trap.

Check who is selling the products you are looking for online, How long have they been in business? Where are they based? Do they sell online only or do they have a physical location that you can visit? How can you contact them? Do their contact details really work? Do they have a physical address and actual phone number to reach them? Check their social media channels and see if they have any recent activity. If there's none, you should be worried.


Look for a privacy policy on the website.

Read the company's privacy policy and terms of service to make sure you know where your information is going and how it will be used. What does the seller do with your personal information? Make sure your information is not going to be stored and also is encrypted.

What's the worst that could happen if you don't check their privacy statement? Maybe they will sell your information to other companies to use when you will be on vacation. It's a great way to get another subscription for one of the newsletters you forgot you are subscribed to.


How do they want you to pay?

Payment methods accepted are an important consideration when you're shopping online. No one is going to want to shop at a store that only accepts cash. Check the payment methods they accept. Can you pay securely? At the very least they should take M-Pesa, Debit Cards, or Credit Cards as these are pretty well protected. How does it compare to other prices? Does the price sound too good to be true? 

If they want you to pay the full amount of the product before delivery is done, you may want to look elsewhere. 



What do their Terms and Conditions say about Return and Exchange Policies?

When you buy something online you are agreeing to an online contract. There are hundreds of websites with their own set of terms and conditions that you have to agree to before completing your purchase. Terms and conditions will vary from shop to shop so it is worth taking the time to read through them all.

Is the return policy good enough for you? Is it worth getting into an argument if there are issues with your order? If the TCs are hard to understand, and the policies are not clear, then it is a scammer.


Check their Order Delivery.

Remember to know the item's delivery options before the order is finalized.

Is it a delay in your order delivery that gives you the scare? One way to minimize this risk is to know what their delivery options are before the order is finalized. Delivery options would include the type of courier used, how long it takes for a delivery to complete, and what are the fees for delivery. This information becomes important when the shopped item gets delayed due to a variety of reasons.

Is the delivery waiting time enough for you? Understand that there may be "extra charges" when shipping or buying from an online shopping marketplace. Does the seller offer a money-back or replacement guarantee on order deliveries for damages caused by logistics?


Get a better DEAL by Buying in Bulk or using a Coupon.

Do you like to buy your products in bulk? Typically, things may cost less when they are bought in bulk because they are more of the item. This is because companies know that if they offer a product lower than their competitors, the consumer will buy it and be happy with the price. 

It doesn't matter if you're buying books and clothes or trying to get a discount for bulk dog food — buying in bulk is a good idea. Chances are, you've heard of the sunk cost fallacy: No matter what we do, we tend to want to finish what we start. This can be an issue when it comes to shopping online because it's easy to buy 10 products at once just because we started the checkout process. But even if you're not able to buy multiple products at once, there are ways to save money and still get a great deal when shopping online.

Try to get a better DEAL by buying in bulk or using a coupon code, but don't click on links in email messages from unknown senders, or click on links in pop-up windows, even if you find the pop-up message tempting or amusing. These are often used by scammers to direct you to fraudulent sites.


Check the Reviews of the Business.

Search for the business online - not just on the company's site but check their social media pages and reviews.

There are many things to consider when you're buying online. One of the most important things, though, is to be sure that the company is a reputable one. There are a lot of companies out there that just want your money and aren't concerned about your experience with their website or products. You can avoid this by doing a quick Google search for customer reviews on the company's name, or by checking for reviews from previous customers. 

What do the reviews on Google, Trust Pilot, Facebook, and other review sites say about them, are there negative comments, how many? Does the online seller frequently respond to customers? Or do they react only when there is an issue? Even if it is a trustworthy store, the reviews will give you an idea of how good the product is and if it was what you expected. (I've never had an issue when these ratings were high) 




Online shopping has many benefits and can be very rewarding and safe, but there are some dirty tricks that you should be aware of to avoid being ripped off. Before buying online, make sure to check out the company and if they are secure. Whether it's a new pair of jeans or pet supplies, online shopping is a safe and convenient way to find just about anything you could ever want. As long as you use your best judgment and stay on guard, online shopping can be a super fun experience.

People are always looking for the best deals as you can see, shopping over the internet is a great option for saving time and money. The tips and advice we have listed above should provide you with the information you need before your next online shopping adventure. There are many internet scams out there, shop smart!