7 tips for safe online shopping

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These tips may seem obvious to you, but for some reason they are not known by everyone, or at least even today it is possible to find people who do not take the security of their online shopping very seriously. We have all visited an online shopping center (in spanish: centro comercial online) at some point, and we know that we can find a cheap online store (tienda barata online), but in addition to being cheap, we want it to be totally trustworthy.

From a crude counterfeit instead of an original product or a package 'lost' in transit... There are numerous dangers that lurk for lovers of online shopping. The worst thing that can happen is that money is stolen from your card. That's why it's important to know how to minimize the risks.


1. Choose reliable sellers

An obvious but effective tip: choose products from popular stores that have been around for more than a year and are in demand. The prices there will probably be higher than on dubious pages, but the advantages you get in return compensate for those extra pennies. This is both an official guarantee for the use of the product and a refund if, for various reasons, you are not satisfied with the purchase. Even if there are problems with the purchased jeans or a teapot and the case comes to a dispute, a big seller will not be able to run away with your money. The best online store is not only one that offers good prices and products, after-sales service is increasingly appreciated and valued, and should be taken into account.

2. Reviews of studies

Often, dishonest online sellers, who don't plan to send you anything, are trying to create the appearance of serious, quality work. To do this, they add false favorable reviews to the site. And, usually, these comments are written by pseudo-advertising copywriters hired at a discount who don't have much regard for the texts they write or the language. You can easily recognize them by their unique style: Texts from 'different customers' are at similar times, often repeating spelling and syntax errors. They also use abstract and ambiguous descriptions, such as "excellent quality", "decent price", "I liked it a lot". Often, the reviewer simply does not have enough time to properly study the product, so he or she gets away with general phrases.


Reviews are published massively. Within a couple of days, a dozen positive reviews appear, often with the same interval, then, after a break (the editor has a day off), the situation repeats itself. Even the smallest online store should have social media pages. Look for reviews there and, at the same time, see how account owners react to complaints: by ignoring them, arguing with the buyer or trying to solve a problem. This will give you clues about who you want to give your money to in exchange for products and services.

3. Buy through official applications

They are owned by many large online stores and often have far fewer vulnerabilities than websites. And the applications are equally beneficial to both the seller and the buyer. The online store can remind itself at any time by sending a push notification with a promotional code or other notice to the customer's smart phone. And the buyer sometimes receives a bonus for having installed the app.


When you download the app, make sure it's really official. Check the developer information (usually indicated just below the name icon). In the App Store or Google Play, you can also find a list of all the developer's applications and their contact information.

4. Check the site's address bar.

If you don't use the application, but the site, always study its address carefully. Even minor spelling errors (an extra letter or hyphen) can lead the buyer to a fake site, whose interface is similar to the original; a multi-story site, such as shop.tilda, means that the owners have saved on building it, perhaps because they intend to use it for fraudulent purposes.

It's safer to enter the website address manually rather than browse through a search query.


If you can not only place orders in an online store, but also purchase products, make sure the site uses the 3D Secure protocol, which guarantees secure payments. Its presence is indicated by payment system logos with the words Verified by Visa, MasterCard Secure Code and Mir Accept. The address of the payment page must begin with https. Next to it there will be an image of a green padlock, click on it and select "View Certificates" from the menu that appears. Check to see if the certificate was issued for this particular site and if its validity period has expired.

5. Use a separate card to pay for purchases

In the field of fraud rate online purchases has not ceased to increase the European Report on Security and Fraud in Online Payments, 2019: fraud in online payments is increasing in Europe and worldwide therefore, if possible, pay for purchases on the Internet with a specific card to make purchases online.


Issue an additional debit card for such purchases. Don't forget to connect your mobile banking to receive notifications about completed transactions. Check with your bank on how to set a purchase limit. Find out if you can limit the amount of cash transfers and withdrawals. This is to prevent fraudsters from transferring all the money into your accounts at once, if they have access to your card details. And in any case, don't send money to an e-wallet or to a merchant's personal card. Cash on delivery or paypal payment can also be a good option.

6. Create a special mailbox

And use it exclusively for online shopping. Your primary email may contain a lot of sensitive and confidential information. Many people store passwords to all services and document scans in "Drafts" (never do that). Also, you will probably use it to access your social network accounts. You can imagine the magnitude of the disaster if fraudsters get access to this mailbox (for example, when you specify it while making a purchase in an untrustworthy online store).

7. Connect a VPN when you're not at home or work

Shopping cravings can trap you in a cafe, subway car or anywhere else with public Wi-Fi. The administrators of these networks cannot always guarantee the total security of the data you transmit. Especially if you don't need a password to log in. Don't rush to place an order, even if you trust the store 100%. If possible, connect to virtual private networks or VPNs first.

What do you do if you fall victim to scammers?

As soon as you discover that the money on your card has started flowing, take action. Contact the bank urgently, or at least do so the next day, but no later. Block your card and claim the transfer as a fraudulent transaction. But don't dispute any card transactions if you have made them yourself. For example, if you paid for the products and then found out that the store was fake. Or in a phone conversation or correspondence with the "seller" they named all the details themselves. Otherwise, you will most likely have to pay a penalty for a transaction disputed in error. Look for information about this in your agreement with the bank or on their website.


Also report it to the police. The telemarketing crime department has been increasing year after year, and this is one reason. You can write a regular paper statement, for which you should go in person to the nearest police station. It is important to prevent other people from being swindled and to try to get your money back.

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