The opportunities to shop over the Internet from home are enormous. There is a large selection of online stores available and it is convenient as you can shop in peace at any time of the day when physical stores may be closed. It is also perfect during these current times when we need to minimise our exposure to crowds of people. But the risk of being deceived is greater when shopping online and goods are sent, because you are in a situation where you don’t physically meet. With a few simple and smart tips, you can continue to shop safely online.
A common issue, if you are not careful, is that you can end up on a fake website that has been made to look identical to the authentic one. It can also be a counterfeit shop that sells copies of original goods. Before you make a purchase online, it is important to check that the site is encrypted, that is, whether the information you will provide can be tracked on the Internet or if it is protected. There are two things to look for; a padlock symbol and that the URL start with https instead of just http. The S stands for "Secure". Note that depending on which browser you use, https is not always visible, and the padlock symbol may be placed at the end of the address bar instead of at the beginning.
Also check if there are customer service details or a contact person available on the site. It is a great warning sign if they are missing.
The second-hand market is increasing in popularity as trends like sustainability become ever stronger. Before buying an item, check the seller's reviews and ratings. It can give an indication of how trusted the seller is. Most frauds on second-hand sites are almost always due to the fraudsters making their victims pay in advance. Avoid pre-payments when shopping from a private seller. Keep in mind that you as the buyer should decide the payment method.
It is important to understand how payment services work. Many second-hand sites offer secure payment services through an intermediary which should be used. This includes protection for both buyers and sellers and both parties often have to verify themselves through some form of e-identification, such as Bank ID. Never agree to pay via a link sent to you by a private seller. It could be a fake payment page created by the fraudster that appears to be an authentic one.
Should you be a victim of fraud, you should always make a police report, and contact the second-hand site you used as well.
For more expensive items that you buy second-hand, we advise you to ask for an original receipt or sign a purchase contract. Well-known sites usually have ready-made templates that you can request.
Now you are ready to shop safely online!
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