Safe online shopping: how to make it?

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E-commerce has modified our consumption habits. The number of Spanish people who purchase products and services exclusively online increases every day. The frequency and quantity of the purchases continue rising considerably. But, do we safely buy in Internet?

Have you ever dreamed of shopping from your house comfort, receiving the articles bought without having the need to move outside, and experimenting effective delivery and reimbursement services? E-commerce will make the dream come true. In fact, it is the preferred shopping option, even when it comes to buy first need products.

According to the e-commerce annual study, conducted by the IAB Spain Association in 2017, 70% of the Internet users make online purchases. The reasons for choosing e-commerce are: price (82%), delivery services (79%), website reliability (77%), and post-selling services (76%). However, the two key aspects for shopping or not online are the delivery periods —38% are willing to pay more if the time to receive the product is reduced­—,  as well as the payment safety, something that worries 76% of the users, who are now more exigent.

“New technologies have developed safer payment gateways, at the same time that the banks show new ways of transactions in order to avoid thefts”

How to make a safe online purchase

  1. Constant device upgrade: the device that will be used to make the payment is the first element to be taken into account.  The operative system and applications must be upgraded in order to be protected from cyber-criminals. It is also convenient to install one antivirus. An individual technical support will be additionally offered in the for-pay antivirus packages.
  2. Safe connection: using public networks, as those in big stores, airports, trains, among other sources, means putting our personal data into risk of exposure. The information travels without being encoded and, consequently, anyone can steal it. For this reason, making the purchase using our own WiFi network or our mobile-device Internet connection will be the best option.
  3. Reliable URLs: banks and companies that have a confidential service provide users with a security protocol which appears when their URL starts by ‘htpps’, instead of the usual ‘htpp’. The Spanish Office for the Security of the Internet-User (in Spanish, OSI) warns that the information exchanged through Internet can be intercepted by other people. Consequently, the protocol ‘htpps’ was created, and it is in charge of encoding the data to avoid the theft. In the majority of cases, it comes with a green lock.
  4. Knowing the website of the shop where the purchase will be made: the webpage has to offer ways for contacting the enterprise, as well as clearly inform about the delivery terms, conditions and proceedings to be followed in case of product return. If none of these three requisites is applied, it is better not to make the purchase in order to avoid possible future problems.
  5. Other users’ opinions and experiences: it is advisable to make a search in order to read the opinions of other people and their experience with a specific website. In fact, more than half of Spanish users point out that these comments actually influenced in their purchase decision, so they are quite coveted by enterprises, which rely on them.
  6. Provide minimum information: we are frequently asked for more data than necessary to make a purchase. Sometimes it is only a way of requesting information, apparently. However,   there is a reason behind: this information is really precious for enterprises, as they pay stratospheric amounts for it.
  7. Use payment gateways:  paying without having to introduce your personal data and accessing the net with the safety of a SSL security certificate are the main reasons why 2 out of 3 users buy via PayPal, Amazon, eBay or Aliexpress. In fact, according to recent studies, PayPal has grown up as the favorite international e-commerce channel.
  8. Money claims online: credit cards or payment gateways have an insurance that pays money refunds in case of fraud. Regarding gateways exclusively (as they act as intermediaries), they can immediately block the payment when a problem arises.
  9. Keep electronic invoices from every transaction: Every online purchase produces an invoice which has the same legal value as any other invoice. It will be very useful, for example, when writing a claim due to a product’s imperfection.
  10. What to do in case of fraud or theft?: gather all the possible information and report it to the Spanish Civil Guard Group in charge of computer crimes. Likewise, get the Spanish Office for the Security of the Internet-User (in Spanish, OSI) —organ dependent on the National Institute for Spanish Cyber-Security (in Spanish, INCIBE) — informed. In these cases, every piece of information is fundamental.

We must always apply the common sense and consequently flee from irresistible promotions and bargains published in Internet. It is convenient to be especially careful with those products offered by individuals in second-hand portals that have suspiciously good prices to be true. A simple search of the product image can help us to discover the fraud.

In order to make a safe purchase, you must have the same worries we daily have in the digital world: having different solid complex passwords for each account and changing them regularly. At least, if we cannot avoid the fraud, we will be making it more difficult to happen.

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