The term “buyer beware” is not limited to physical stores; consumers should also take care when shopping in the virtual world.
This advice has come from E-Commerce Specialist in the Ministry of Commerce and Trade, Chesterfield Coppin, who noted that precautionary measures should be taken to ensure the online shopping experience was more secure.
Coppin suggested that verifying the authenticity of an online merchant, by using familiar retailers; confirming the online seller’s physical address and phone number in the event that the customer had queries or problems; and keeping a record of the purchase by making a print out of the confirmation page or saving the confirmation email, were some of the ways consumers could create a safer shopping experience.
He also recommended that customers check the website for third party seals of approval, such as TRUSTe and the Better Business Bureau and confirm the reliability of retail websites, by ensuring that the URL begins with ‘https’, with a closed padlock in the address bar.
As an additional measure, Coppin advised that persons shopping online should not send financial details — such as credit card information, chequing account information or ATM pin numbers — via email. He also stressed that public computers should not be used for online shopping, as this would increase the chance of personal information being stolen; and encouraged persons to update their computer with antivirus software, to protect against spam and phishing software.