Online shopping has made it so convenient for us. You can find the rarest items, from every corner of the earth. The deals are mad, the choice is vast and shipping can sometimes be free!

But just like any other good things in life, bad people can ruin good for their own benefit. According to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, online shopping was the number 1 cybercrime of 2017, from non-payment or non-deliver of goods purchased. But fret not, by following these safety guidelines, you can still shop online confidently and avoid scams.

1. Familiar & Recognized Websites

Shop at a trusted site that almost everyone would go buy their necessities. But do check their domain for misspellings or even minor changes such as .net to .org. Phishing sites may imitate famous websites to get your payment credentials.

2. Check The Lock

Have you noticed the lock sign on the left side of a web site’s URL? It’s called an SSL encryption (secure sockets layer). A secure site will start with HTTPS instead of just HTTP.

3. Hold Your Info

When shopping online, try not to give out too much sensitive information. The site does not need your D.O.B, P.O.B or your mother’s maiden name for you to shop. Even if the site is secure and famous, they can get breached.

Most importantly, NEVER give out your sensitive details such as PIN, activation, authorization code to anyone. Recently, there has been cases where scammers pretend to be your “friend” to get your authorization code.

4. Pay with a Payment Gateway

Unless you know a seller personally, never choose to pay cash on delivery (COD) or manual bank transfer because you will not be protected against dishonest sellers. It is safer to pay online via payment gateway (online banking, e-wallet, or credit/debit card) because you will receive your proof of transaction and official receipt which can be used as a reference for investigations by the payment gateway support team.

Important: This situation is where scammers trick you into buying rather than access your account to make purchases/transfers. Please never give out any code of authorization sent to your phone number to anybody (including friends and family!). Scammers may be able to create a fake account and pretend to be your friend or spouse.

5. Check Your Statement

With online banking and mobile apps, checking your bank and credit statement is just a few clicks away. You can set aside a day in a week to go through all your purchases. Even better, you can keep an expenses tracker and make sure that everything syncs to your record, down to a single cent! No fraudsters can get away from your supervision.

6. Protect Your Computer

Protect Your computer and laptops against malware with updated anti-virus programs. Make sure they’re really working!

7. Use Private WiFi

Try not to do any shopping or money transferring via public hotspots. But if you must to, use a virtual private network to be safe.

8. Create Strong Password

Even if you have the strongest password, you gotta change them regularly. But most people never change their passwords unless they’re required to. If you’re worried about forgetting the passwords for all your shopping accounts, try using a password manager.

9. Fight For Justice

Fall for a bait? Don’t be embarrassed. File a report and fight for your rights relentlessly. Go through the local authorities and read through the procedures before you do anything, so you’d be prepared and have all the necessary documents and proofs ready. If you used your credit card, you can file for a chargeback.