How to tell if an online store can be trusted
In modern times it is an unfortunate reality that certain people exist that are willing to take advantage of unsuspecting shoppers. Never fear though. With just a few simple steps, you can ensure that your information and experience is the safest and most secure you can possibly get. Just follow these steps and you will know exactly who you are dealing with.
1. The web address
There's a few indications beginning with the web address that can indicate the authenticity of an online shopping site. To begin with, look at the beginning of the web address. It will either begin with http:// or https://. The difference between these two are that http:// does not have something called a "security" certificate and https:// does. A security certificate means that any information provided is encrypted. So for example, if you enter your credit cards details through a http:// site this may be intercepted by a third party. However, the https:// is encrypted which doesn't make it impossible but makes it very hard for a third party to intercept information. Just remember, S for Secure.
Ok, so the address is https:// and they have those great shoes you've been looking for. You add them to your cart and click on check out. What happens next is a good indication as to how trustworthy the site is. If it takes you to another site to enter payment information, then 9 times out of 10 you should reconsider using the site. However, if it takes you to a trusted site that is well known like PayItNow then it could be an exception. As always though, if something look suspicious then don't risk it. If payment is required OUTSIDE their website eg. a messaging app or providing details via email then back out straight away and see this as a huge red flag.
3. Business Registers
In most countries, businesses are required to be registered with government or regulatory bodies. Doing a check for the business name can usually be done online through the agency's website. If you can't find the business name, don't be too shy to send an email to the business. If a business wants you as a customer they will provide any information they can to show they are a trustworthy shop to do business with.
4. Contact information
Businesses LOVE customer feedback. It tells them what they are doing right, what they can improve on and testimonials to show off how great their online store is. If you can't find any way to contact the business except maybe some strange looking messaging app username then they most likely aren't interested in having customers contact them. There could be several reasons behind this. They could be an extremely new start up business and simply not have this information on the site yet. In this case, it will be up soon so maybe check it out in a few days. The other option is they don't want to hear from customers after they submit details. In this case, this is yet another huge red flag.
In conclusion, your online shopping experience is your's to own. You should feel safe, comfortable and enjoy the experience. Any good business will bend over backwards to assist you to feel this way and offer support every step of the way. Feel free to comment below if you have some other tips to help others feel safe and secure when they shop online.