E-commerce has now officially attained the status of Normal in most parts of the world. It is now an everyday thing that we cannot begin to imagine our lives without. From ordering your lunch online to getting the perfect shoes on Amazon, e-commerce innovations just keep getting better.
However, security remains an issue of great concern to many of us. Is my money safe? Is my information safe? Am I safe? These questions still ring loud in our heads when we have to enter our personal details, delivery address or make payment online, especially when it is your first time transacting with that business. It happens to all of us.
And indeed, we have good reasons to be concerned. There have been cases of fraudsters getting a person's details online and wiping out their accounts and stalkers getting a person's address online. Thankfully, the system is improving every day. E-commerce has come a long way from what it used to be, with several innovations to mitigate these concerns.
Also, businesses have learnt that they have to protect the information they get from customers. But in the end, you cannot be too sure. You should take necessary precautions when it is your first time buying from that site or transacting with that company. Here are three things you should watch out for before making payment.
A legitimate business will have multiple payment methods for their customers to choose which they are comfortable with. A company trying to box you into a corner by offering only one payment option on its site is a red flag.
Payment service providers definitely offer more than one payment option and do KYC before partnering with a business. So a business with one payment option likely does not have a payment partner and is not a wise option.
Before entering your personal or payment details, check to see if that site is secured. Because if it is not, then it means anyone can tap into the information you are sending and your details freely. If it is HTTPS, it is a secure site, and your details are end to end encrypted. Anyone who taps into it will have to crack it to get your details. And that is a difficult mission to undertake.
If it is HTTP, then it is not a secured site. You can get this by clicking on the address bar at the top of your browser. The site address will emerge with either HTTPS or HTTP as a prefix.
Check if there is the address of the physical location of the business on the site. And if there is a contact line, I would advise that you call and ask about a product or service before making payment. While this does not offer 100% assurance or even 70%, it is a relevant pointer in identifying a fake company.
While making these checks, one thing you should also keep in mind is that there are a lot of fake businesses online. And their job is to do everything to convince you that they are legitimate, only to take off with your money or even use the details you supply to scam you. It does not hurt to be double sure. Another thing you can do is to have a designated payment account. This is an account that you only use for online payments. And it is only funded when you need to do so. You can also leave little money in it for subscription renewal.