Skip to content Skip to sidebar Skip to footer

Shopping smarter online during COVID

Article provided by Incredible Connection

The spread of COVID-19 over the last two months continues to affect all of us. Even as progress is made and some countries reopen, most of us are still working from home. A reminder that this is an ever-changing, global issue we must all work together to confront and overcome.

At Incredible Connection, we strive, every day to bring smart technology to all. We believe that putting the best technology in the hands of more people leads to better ideas and solutions, to all of our challenges. Now more than ever, we are seeing the value of having the right technology.

Whether it is for a teacher leading a class online or individuals using the internet at home to get their work done. Technology is playing a key role in helping address the challenges the virus has created.

As more people take advantage of the safety and convenience of shopping online, we have had to amp up our range of products, site security and distribution network. If you have never shopped online, then there are a few things you need to be aware of.

When shopping in a store you have the advantage of seeing first-hand the stock and employees, so when shopping online, you have to look for other trust indicators. For many years, internet users were told to “look for the lock” to know if a website was secure. You can look beyond the lock by clicking on it to view the certificate information and organization details.

At the very least, do not use sites that fail to use encryption for transmitting data, commonly known as TLS/SSL encryption.

Additionally, you can ask yourself a few of the following questions to determine whether a site is trustworthy:

  • Is the terms and conditions or a return policy listed?
  • Is there a secure site seal?
  • Are there grammar and spelling mistakes?
  • Are there reviews?
  • Do they have a social media following?
  • And, most importantly, is there contact information listed in case you need to get in touch with the company about your order?

Questions like these do not guarantee that a site isn’t a scam, but they are helpful guides in determining whether or not you should trust a site. Don’t give out more information than you need to.

For example, you will not be asked to give your date of birth for purchasing water online, but if purchasing a TV, the merchant will need to validate whether you have a TV license or not. If you’re asked for very personal information, call customer service to see if you can use other identifying information. If not, remember you can always walk away.

You should also choose strong passwords that have a complex set of lowercase and uppercase numbers, letters and symbols. Don’t use personal information as your password and avoid using the same password on multiple accounts. If available, you can use the guest checkout option instead of creating an account.

Avoid suspicious forms of payment, like sending money to a random PayPal account, or direct deposits. If you’re worried about a transaction, you may use a credit card, which usually has the best liability protection. To ensure there aren’t any fraudulent charges, check your statements regularly.

Regardless of what kind of device you use for online shopping, keeping your software up to date can prevent cybercriminals from exploiting a weakness. Particularly, make sure that your browser is up to date, and do not install suspicious software or plugins.

We insist that you install internet protection security to keep your personal and work information safe. There are many free versions available but we suggest a paid-for one as these include features that are not found in free versions.

Ad emails are often malicious and pretending to be legitimate businesses. During this pandemic, you might see emails with deals for personal protective equipment. You should exercise caution with any email or social media post with a COVID-19 related subject line, attachment or link. It is better to copy the website URL, inspect it then paste it into a browser instead of clicking on links in your inbox.

If something seems too good to be true, it probably is. The most powerful defence against online shopping scams is common sense. Also, beware of subscriptions to ads, which can be dangerous because they can spam your mailbox with malicious emails.

Save the receipt and order confirmation information. If your order doesn’t arrive, hopefully, you checked the site for contact information so you can call the merchant. If you can’t reach anyone, and you suspect foul play, report the company by contacting your government regulatory authority, CGSA.

As governments increasingly encourage people to stay home, the number of people shopping online will most likely continue to increase. Cybercriminals have already been exploiting the world’s online attention to COVID-19, so protect yourself and your data during this unprecedented time.

Incredible Connection is a proud Partner of the NSBC

Get the best business tips delivered to your inbox!

© NSBC Africa 2023. All Rights Reserved.