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Consumer Awareness: 5 safety checks for online shopping

Feb 22, 2022: With the ease of purchasing nearly anything online today, E-commerce has understandably become the norm. You can browse through dozens of stores and buy a product of your choice with just a few clicks. The growth of online stores has been so rapid that it is hard to distinguish the genuine ones from the ones that are scams and may hook you for fraudulent activities.

So, here are the five most important tips that you need to keep in mind for safe digital shopping

1. Navigate directly to an online store

While shopping online, avoid using any suspicious links sent to you in a message or an email​​ and ensure that you are making a safe purchase from a web browser of the verified store. It is also essential to be mindful that a shopping website’s URL (address) should always begin with ‘HTTPS’ and a closed padlock icon in the address window when you are about to make a transaction on it. These tiny details that you need to look out for will help you avoid fraudulent and duplicitous activities that are raging in the online market.

2. Check the credibility of the store

One of the ways to tell a genuine store from a scam is to check for reviews and testimonials of previous users. Do not purchase from a store that has no credible reviews or buyers. It is equally important to understand that businesses and sellers that enjoy a good and credible reputation most likely have a wing or a section on their website about their privacy policies. The online shopping market is so fast-paced that you get to know all about online shopping advances, which are readily available, but it is crucial to avoid unsolicited shopping opportunities via email, social media, or cold calls, no matter how tempting the offers or sales may be.

3. Verify the contact details of the seller

There are more ways to check a website’s credibility beyond looking at its online reviews. No matter how exciting the product, sale, or offer, always ensure that you verify the seller’s contact details, identify their location, and ascertain the name and email address. While shopping on the internet, it is always better to be safe than sorry.

4. Steer clear from offers that look too good to be true

Plenty of scammers and fraudulent sites advertise offers that are too good to be true. These offers are used as baits and are, in reality, financially unviable. For example, if you are shopping for a mobile phone that is around Rs.50,000 but they offer a price as low as Rs.1500. This is a simple and straightforward example to scam you with offers. So, always look for realistic offers and promos, and do not fall for offers that seem unbelievable.

5. Always check your consumer rights on the trader’s website

It is vital to be mindful that online sellers should provide you with correct and transparent information about the rights you hold as a consumer. You should be clear about the return policy, legal, and genuine warranty before your purchase. If the trader has none of these mentioned as their services on their website, then it is best to not purchase from them and look for those that provide and promise these services to ensure the genuineness of the products.

The author is Country Manager, WISE Source: thehindubusinessline.com