Let The Buyer Beware

December 29, 2016

Know your consumer rights and how to keep safe this festive season. Online shopping can be easy when you do your last-minute shopping, however, this can be a hassle too if you do not shop with precautionary measures. As a consumer, you need to avoid most common consumer issues that come with other festive-season favorite activities.

Online shopping is big business these days, with more and more consumers across the world turning to the World Wide Web to purchase goods.

Needless to say, this has caught the attention of cybercriminals who are keen to exploit individuals benefitting from the convenience, affordability and choice that makes the internet such a compelling place to be.

With that in mind and conscious of the festive season is, be mindful on how to stay safe and secure when shopping online.

As a consumer, you should always know the risks and do your homework. Everything you need to know before you buy online.

Consumers should always stick with popular brands is as good as any advice when shopping online. Not only do you know what you are getting by way of quality and price, but you also feel more confident that these well-established names have in place robust security measures. However, be careful, as fraudsters often create fake and professional looking websites to lure in unsuspecting victims.

We have all come across a legitimately unbelievable offer and jumped on it with enthusiasm. We find ourselves glad to have been afforded the opportunity to purchase something at a fraction of its true cost.

It is advisable to be doubly vigilant during holiday seasons, like Christmas, where there does tend to be a lot of amazing and genuine offers. The more reliable the brand and the more secure the URL, the more likely it is authentic.

Study found that consumers should always opt for your mobile phone network over public Wi-Fi.

Public Wi-Fi is unquestionably something we as consumers now expect. From shops to cafes to restaurants, being able to access the internet with little or no cost is in tune with our connected way of living.

However, when it comes to buying online, all the convenience that comes with public Wi-Fi can be overshadowed by the many risks that are associated with this service. You would be surprised at how unsecure many hot spots actually are and how easy they are to attack.

There are ample solutions to resolving the vulnerabilities associated with public Wi-Fi. Nonetheless, in general, when out and about, opt to use data provided by your network provider when going online.

Consumers should be mindful and check their credit card statements frequently.

Using a credit card is really the only smart way to shop online. If you buy something from a scam site using a debit card, check, or cash, there is no way to get your money back. If you see something dubious on your statement, just contact your bank to dispute the charge and possibly get a new card so the charges would not continue.

Smartphones can basically do everything a computer can do nowadays, but that does not mean they are as protected against threats as your desktop. Most phones are not equipped with the anti-virus software that you have on your computer. Thus, it is easier for criminals to get malware on your mobile device that could help them steal information you enter. There is also the risk of your phone being stolen, hence, make sure its password is protected so any information you may have stored on it is not easily accessed.

Consumers should always shop with an open mind and with caution.

The council wishes consumers a safe shopping this festive season.