So who is panicking at this stage over Christmas shopping? I am sure some of you will be shopping on Christmas Eve for last minute pieces. However if you are like me and try to plan ahead I wanted to give you a few tips.
Unfortunately it’s not about the latest discount or free offer but I feel it is still very important. In my late teens and throughout college, I worked in retail from accessories to ladies and men’s departments. I feel I learnt a lot about shopping but my shopaholic addiction thought me much more.
So let me get straight to my point “Online Shopping” what’s not to love about it ? Instead of running to the shops after a long day at work, we have the reassuring option of just buying online with just one swipe. A dangerous but enjoyable addiction for many of us.
However in the midst of all the panic and madness and fear of leaving someone out, we may be less concerned or wary about where we shop. Sometimes if we come across a bargain that seems too good to be true, chances are it really is. Unfortunately there are a small number of scammers waiting to cash in on at our time of panic. It can happen at any time of the year but at Christmas even the most tech savvy shoppers are vulnerable. So if you decided to do some of your shopping online this year I wanted to let you know some signs that should be an instant red flag.
1. When you key in your website of choice look at the top of your computer screen. You should see the coding box for this particular site. Look at ‘URL’ and the beginning you will see http. Every site has it however some will have https. What this means is that the site with ‘s’ is seen as secure and safe but do not be completely alarmed, as there are some sites without this which are still ok to shop with. What I would advise is to register as a new customer to have your information safe.
2. Every good/reputable online store will require you to register. If they do not when checking out for the first time, I would opt to pay through PayPal. A service that enables you to securely pay, send money, and accept payments without revealing your financial details.
3. Thirdly what you should look for is an up to date copyright. This can be usually found at the very end of the site beside contacts and customer care. An example from the River Island site is at the very bottom (Copyright c River Island 2016). What does the copyright mean? It means that this company owns this domain. If the copyright is a year out of date, then I would not shop on this site. Every trading and well run business would always have an up to date copyright.
4. Another great way to find out if a site is safe and secure is to use scam advisor. I have used this website myself and find it very helpful. It is very easy to use, first copy and paste your site of concern and place it into scam advisor search box. It may take a minute however you will find out where the site is run but also if it is a scam. It’s very reassuring to know there is support for shoppers to keep their accounts and information safe.
If you have become a victim of an online shopping scam contact your bank immediately. Every bank operates differently however there is always a solution to every problem. I hope this information helps at least one of you. Have a lovely Christmas.