Ordering the blouse you want, the new video game or fresh groceries on the Internet: Online shopping is becoming increasingly popular, and not without reason. On a PC or smartphone, you can compare countless products and suppliers at any time and from anywhere and find great deals.
Traffic jams and the search for a parking space are a thing of the past – instead, the ordered product is delivered directly to the desired address within a short time. At least if the provider is a reputable one and the communication between retailer and customer is not intercepted illegally.
Where are the weak points?
With the increasing popularity of online shopping, reports of fraud are also on the rise. Particularly popular are so-called phishing e-mails, which are intended to trick addressees into handing over personal information such as passwords, credit card numbers or login data.
So-called man-in-the-middle attacks, in which data is forwarded to unauthorized parties instead of the intended recipients, are reported no less frequently. In both cases, the message is: Eyes open and send personal information exclusively via encrypted SSL or TLS connections.
Security is a priority
For an all-round successful shopping experience on the Internet, don’t press the order button too quickly – and if possible, don’t shop from freely accessible hotspots, but via secure WLAN connections.
With both Secure Socket Layer and Transport Layer Security, the information sent is checked on the way to the recipient and only decrypted there.
If its authenticity cannot be ensured by certificates from trustworthy bodies, you will receive a warning from your browser. A symbolic padlock or the abbreviation “https” in front of the Internet address also guarantee secure connections. And beyond that?
Is the provider reputable?
Test seals and certificates: You’ve finally found what you’ve been looking for forever – but on a website of an unknown merchant? While large international companies do not usually need to be checked for reliability, in the case of smaller companies it is better to take a look at certificates from independent test centers such as “Trusted Shops” or a TÜV seal of approval.
But be careful: The logos are also used illegally. In these cases, you will not be redirected to the homepage of the corresponding testing body after clicking on the symbol.
Customer reviews: Also include reviews and testimonials from consumers in your purchase decision. You will find the desired product reviews both on the store page itself and on external websites where unwanted comments cannot be deleted by the provider.
You do not have to immediately refrain from placing an order in the event of a negative review. You should be more suspicious if you only give the highest possible number of stars. Among other things, you recognize fake reviews:
- Exaggeratedly positive and longer-than-average reviews.
- Texts formulated as advertising messages.
- Bad reviews with reference to a competing product.
Imprint: If the imprint does not contain a complete company address, if the provider’s head office is located in an unknown place outside the EU, if there is no clear presentation of contact options, you should make further inquiries about the provider and, if necessary, look for another dealer for the desired goods.
When will be delivered and how?
With a little circumspection during the ordering process, you can avoid further pitfalls.
GTC: You would be an exception if you read through the online store’s general terms and conditions in full. You don’t have to – but the passages on how your personal data is handled and whether it is passed on to third parties indicate whether you have to fear a flood of advertising e-mails after placing your order.
Password: Some order processes can only be completed after registration – and thus usually with the entry of a password. Combine a total of at least eight letters, numbers and special characters with each other and do not give the name of your dog or favorite actor. Use each password only once: thanks to free password managers, confusion is avoided.
Shipping and return policy: May you still be so convinced that you have ordered the right thing: Make sure you can return it without additional costs such as porto or service fees. Also, look for a money-back guarantee, exchange options, and hidden costs such as last-name or customs fees.
Is the price listed a total price including delivery and sales tax? For secure e-commerce shipping, be sure to use reliable companies like YunExpress. Here, you can immediately see where your goods are at any time thanks to the transparent track-and-trace solution.
Payment methods: With most providers, you have a choice when it comes to the payment process. Basically, invoices, surname, direct debit or via well-known online payment services such as PayPal are considered secure. Avoid prepayment and save the order confirmation as a PDF or screenshot in case of a dispute.
But better to go to the mall?
No! Online shopping is becoming increasingly popular, and rightly so. If you follow the tips mentioned above, you can enjoy your shopping experience on the Internet all around.