Juan Venter
3 minute read
6 May 2017
1:39 pm

Five online shopping safety tips

Juan Venter

Don’t fall victim to online scams or fraudulent websites.


How many of us have said: “Mother’s Day is coming up and I have to get my mom that pair of shoes she was looking at the other day?”

The problem is that the shoes are only available online and can’t be purchased locally. So what do we do? Buy them online, using our credit cards.

But it isn’t that easy anymore, is it? The problem nowadays is that we can buy and pay for just about anything online.

The shopping industry has opened itself up to buyers in the most convenient way imaginable.

We can now buy food, electricity, clothes and whatever else we’d like online just by entering our credit or debit card details.

With that convenience, we as online shoppers have also opened ourselves up to all sorts of criminals. Is the site I want to buy the shoes from legitimate, because it has no business address listed and no authentic looking email address or contact details.

See, the thing is, I know what to look out for, but do you?

  • Lots of official company websites are being copied lately and even by searching for a reputable online shopping platform, you could end up on a fake website. The key here is to check out the website domain name. For example, website domains like www.bythoseshoes.org should send you running. Why, you ask? The ‘.org’ part gave it away. Stick with (if you are buying in South Africa) ‘.co.za’
  • Oh my goodness, this site has the same shoes for next to nothing. I’m a cheapskate – sue me. Which brings us to the next point. Be extremely cautious when products are marked at a super low cost. Chances are, if it looks too good to be true, it most likely is. Fake websites generally use low prices to reel in penny-counting shoppers in order to pinch your hard earned ZAR.
  • Don’t pay by EFT (electronic transfer) – ever. Any legitimate online shopping platform offers payment options through popular methods such as ‘MyGate’ in which you enter details such as your card number, the expiry date, your name and surname and CVV Number. Upon completing the details, processing will take place in which your bank should send you an OTP (one-time pin).
  • Mom did mention that she preferred red. Check out the rest of the website before buying what you came for. You’d want to keep an eye out for suspicious looking contact details, addresses etc. Websites with no contact details could be fraudulent. Poor English is sometimes also a dead giveaway. If all these concerns are present, you should consider the website to be dodgy.
  • Oh great, they couriered the wrong size, better return the shoes and have them send the correct pair. What!?!? ‘No return policy’ – don’t use a site that does not display or have shipping and return policies on its website – legitimate online companies have a return address.

Don’t fall victim to online scams or fraudulent websites. If you have an internet connection, you can educate yourself on online safety. Ignorance is no longer an excuse.

Article originally appeared on South Coast Herald

Caxton News Service