BrandArena: Navigating the Online Shopping Sphere: Tips for a Smart, Secure Shopping Experience

Saturday 2 March 2013

Navigating the Online Shopping Sphere: Tips for a Smart, Secure Shopping Experience

Crowded stores, manic shoppers and the long queues, no wonder so many have gone online for their shopping needs. Open 24/7 and at the click of a mouse, you can make your purchases when you want and where you want. Online shopping has never been easier or more affordable with great deals that are delivered right to your doorstep, without you ever having to leave the convenience and comfort of your home. Just ask the 9 out of 10 people today who have made an online purchase in the past year.

From bricks to clicks, online shopping has revolutionized and improved the shopping experience for consumers across the world. Some things unfortunately, have stayed the same. Just as in the real world, criminals live on the Internet too, looking to make a quick naira any chance they can get. While fraud rates today are near historic lows, criminals are fast moving and opportunistic, and will take advantage of any loopholes to scam unsuspecting shoppers

As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure. So here’s a list of common warning signs to look out for and useful tips to help beat fraud and keep your online shopping experience a safe and enjoyable one.

1. Great deals! Great scams
Your anniversary is just around the corner and you’re searching the Internet for that bag your other half has been eyeing for a while. Lucky you! On page two of your search results you find a website offering you exactly what you were searching for with a great discount and free shipping to boot. Doesn’t matter that you’ve never heard of this store before, right?

Not quite. In this day and age, fake websites can easily be created by anyone with basic web design knowledge and used to gain access to your personal information. These websites often look legitimate too. To guarantee a secure shopping experience, take the following precautions when making online purchases.

2. Beware of free trials
It’s the week after Christmas and all those goodies have taken a toll on your waistline. You decide to search online for how to shave those pounds off and spot this free trial for a weight loss program. It’s a tempting offer and after all, what’s there to lose?

A lot. The Internet is full of offers and free trials to help you lose weight or improve your appearance.
Visa monitors its payment network to identify merchants with excessive levels of cardholder disputes, which may indicate the use of deceptive marketing practices like this, but there are steps consumers can take too to avoid falling into this trap.

You’re watching videos online when a pop-up appears offering you a chance to win a free iPad. You’ve wanted an iPad for some time and the opportunity looks too good to pass up. No harm in giving it a go, right?

Hold your horses. As the saying goes, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is. Always exercise good judgment to determine whether these giveaways are legitimate or not. To help you, here are some basic tips you should follow to protect yourself from scams.

While Visa works around the clock to ensure that your card transactions are protected worldwide, every cardholder should be alert to the common online shopping scams used by criminals and take proactive, simple steps to ensure that you (and your Visa card) are safe from online fraud.

By Ade Ashaye, Country Manager for Visa in West Africa

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