Over the past few years, Filipinos have become practically enamored with online shopping. Aside from providing a convenient experience, it also offers significant discounts on premium items that they want. Perhaps most importantly to some, online shopping also gives access to a vast array of products from all over the world.
However, despite all these benefits, it’s crucial for every online shopper to navigate the digital marketplace with vigilance to avoid falling victim to scams and fraudulent activities. While it can be tempting to buy every product that can’t be found locally, it’s still best to approach online shopping with caution.
Below, we will discuss essential tips that will help you protect yourself from potential scams when purchasing items from abroad through online stores.
Check If the Website Is Secure
In the digital landscape, whether you’re shopping or simply browsing online, it’s critical to check the security of the websites you visit. Look for indicators that guarantee a secure connection. Start by checking if the website’s URL begins with “HTTPS” instead of just “HTTP.” The “S” indicates that the connection is encrypted, which safeguards your personal information from potential hackers. Additionally, look for a padlock icon in the address bar, which confirms that the website is protected by security protocols.
Prioritize websites that display these features and steer clear of those that lack them. To further ensure authenticity, consider reading reviews from other customers and verifying the availability of contact information on the website.
Shop from Legitimate Stores or Authorized Resellers
To minimize the risk of scams, it’s best to do your international online shopping from legitimate stores or authorized resellers. These stores have a strong track record and a reputation to maintain, so they are also more likely to provide genuine products and reliable customer service.
Before making a purchase, verify the authenticity of the store by visiting official websites, where they list authorized resellers or dealers. Be cautious when dealing with unauthorized sellers or obscure websites, as they may offer counterfeit goods. They may also engage in fraudulent practices, such as skimming your payment information. By choosing reputable sources, you can enhance your shopping experience and reduce the likelihood of falling prey to scams.
You can also consider shopping through delivery services that offer international shipping to the Philippines. This way, you can buy products from multiple stores and consolidate your orders into a single package. Thus, you can save on shipping fees and ensure that your packages will arrive safe.
Compare Multiple Products Before You Buy
Before making a purchase, it’s essential to conduct thorough research and compare different products. This step is even more important for international purchases because you can’t return the items as quickly as you could with a locally bought product.
Check the prices, features, and customer reviews across various platforms to ensure you’re getting the best deal. In addition, official websites, reputable ecommerce platforms, and trusted review websites can provide valuable insights into product quality and customer satisfaction. By investing time in comparing all your options, you can make informed decisions and avoid buying overpriced or low-quality products.
Don’t Shop Using Public Internet Connections
When making online purchases, it’s best to avoid public Wi-Fi or shared internet connections. These networks are often unsecured, making your personal information vulnerable to cybercriminals. Instead, opt for secure and private internet connections, such as your home network or a trusted mobile data connection. By doing so, you create an additional layer of protection, safeguarding your sensitive data from potential threats. If you really must conduct transactions through public internet connections, consider using a VPN to mask your IP address.
Don’t Save Your Payment Information on Websites
While it may seem convenient to save your payment information on websites for future transactions, it poses a security risk. When you store your payment details, it increases the chances of unauthorized access to your sensitive data.
To protect yourself, refrain from saving your payment information on websites and opt for secure payment methods like reputable third-party payment gateways. These services act as intermediaries, ensuring the confidentiality and security of your payment information for each transaction. Additionally, consider enabling two-factor authentication on all your banking apps for an extra layer of security.
Use Strong Passwords and Protect Your Online Privacy
To further strengthen your online safety, use strong and unique passwords for each of your online accounts. Avoid using easily guessable words, patterns, or personal information that can be easily obtained. Instead, it’s recommended to include a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. To manage multiple passwords securely, consider using a reputable password manager.
As online shopping continues to grow in popularity among Filipino shoppers, it’s more important than ever to remain vigilant and adopt safe practices to avoid scams and fraud. By following the tips discussed above, you can enhance your online shopping experience while safeguarding yourself from potential risks. Remember: staying informed and exercising caution is the key to a secure and enjoyable online shopping journey.