I’ll admit, online shopping can be addictive. I’m talking from my wife’s experience. 🙂
When millions of products are just an app away it’s easy to buy a few things you’d have normally thought twice about if you were at a physical store.
Mostly however it’s a huge modern convenience. Just tap on whatever you want, pay and it’s delivered right to your door.
But as with any modern technology, it has its downsides. From fraudulent products to lost packages, you have to take extra precautions when shopping online.
Here are the biggest risks plus tips to protect yourself.
1. Fraudulent products
You have to be really careful about this one.
With many online stores like Amazon carrying thousands if not millions of products, some of them are bound to be counterfeit. This is especially common with products sold by third party sellers mostly in categories like electronics and beauty products.
Not only are these products inferior in quality, they can cause harm. Some like phone chargers can damage your devices.
2. Fake reviews
This is a problem that even big retailers are struggling with. The fact that customers depend a lot on customer reviews to make a purchase decision has spawned a large black market of fake reviews usually sourced from other countries.
So you might buy a highly-rated product only to discover that it’s not what you expected in terms of quality.
3. Identity theft
If someone got hold of your personal financial details they could quickly wreak havoc on your life.
But since you have no option but to provide your credit card or bank details when you shop online, the risk for identity theft is always there.
4. Stolen or damaged packages
Sometimes the package is successfully delivered only for you to find that it is damaged.
In other cases it’s delivered to your front door but someone steals it. Porch pirates – as parcel thieves are called – have become a nuisance lately.
5. Hidden costs
This happens a lot if you buy from lesser-known websites. Retailers like Amazon make it a point to indicate all costs, including shipping fees, upfront before you complete your order.
Safely shopping online is mostly about sticking to trusted retailers. On your end, you should also take extra precautions like installing a package drop box and doing your homework before buying anything online.