Before purchasing an item online, it is prudent to check if the site is legitimate or an authorized re-seller of the product you are interested in. An easy way to find out if it is legitimate is to look at the address on your browser. Legitimate sites often have a padlock before the URL address and usually start with HTTPS.
If there is a physical address or phone number on the site, contact the company to determine if the shop actually exists. If the client only has a virtual store, then a good way to determine is to check reviews from previous clients. Just make sure that the review is legitimate and not fake; you can take a look at the customer profile page to make sure that the review is in fact true.
Another way would be to check if the store is accredited by an organization or authorizing body. Buying diamonds, for example, should only be bought from authorized resellers as buying from these accredited sellers would mean that the diamond is source from reputable companies.
Many e-commerce sites offer two options for customers to checkout – log in as existing customer or check out as a guest. If you are a regular buyer, you can create a profile containing just the basic information that you think is necessary to complete the transaction. This would include your name, phone number and shipping address.
If you want to check out as a guest, your personal information are requested, however, these informations are not stored in the store’s customer database. Understanding how the information is gathered by the site is also important. Read the fine print before completing your transaction as you might miss some important terms and conditions that might affect your purchase in the future.
As much as possible, avoid adding your credit card or debit card permanently to the site. Although some sites have the latest security protection, the possibility of the site being hacked is just that – always a possibility. You can remove your payment method after you are done shopping. If you are uncomfortable using your credit card, there are other means of payment that you can avail of.
Some sites allow the use of gift cards, debit cards or even through online payment platforms such as PayPal. Bitcoins, which is a virtual currency, can also be use as mode of payment. Whatever option you opt for, always remember to log off and clean your history to ensure that cookies are not stored in your computer.
E-mail or electronic document is now the preferred method of communication; not only is it environmentally friendly, it will also help you to avoid adding more to your clutter. If you receive paper documents or receipts, keep them for a certain period especially if you have warranty for it. Double check all your purchases with your credit card statement and if you think that there is a mistake or discrepancy, it is best to contact your financial institution immediately.