Five easy ways to be a safe and savvy online shopper

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When that must-have item comes on sale while you’re browsing your favourite online shopping site, and before you know it, you’ve purchased it – to spoil yourself because you deserve it. Between the rush and triumph over your new purchase, have you ever thought about whether you are a secure and savvy online shopper?

According to the 2015 MasterCard Online Shopping Behaviour Study, 71.6% of Kenyans say that website payment facility security is the top consideration of whether to shop online or not. Other priority considerations include the convenience of payment methods and the price or value of items.

It’s essential to remember that protecting yourself and your financial details is just as important when shopping online or in-store.  Just as you would protect your wallet, containing your payment cards and personal information, so too should you protect yourself when shopping online.

MasterCard offers five tips that can help you be more of a secure and savvy online shopper:

  • Know who you’re buying from– learn as much as you can about the seller before you purchase from them. It’s not difficult to set up a shop on the Web. If you are unfamiliar with the retailer, it is wise to do an online search to check recommendations and feedback from other customers to gauge their reputation. Check the company’s refund and returns policies, which should be available on the company’s website, before you place your order.
  • Guard your privacy– do not disclose personal information unless you know who is receiving it, why they need it, and how they’ll use it. For example, rather use your work contact details than your home information as less scrupulous retailers sell their customer information to third parties. This will protect your privacy and your security at home.
  • Keep your password safe – most reputable online shops require you to register with them with a username and password before you place an order. When selecting a password, avoid using commonly-known or easily-guessed information such as your birth date, surname or pet’s name, and don’t use the same password that you use for other sites. The best passwords have at least eight characters and include numbers and letters.  Keep your passwords safe and don’t share them – protect them as you would your PIN for your physical payment card.
  • Take advantage of additional security: there are additional layers of online security that help to make your shopping experience saver, such as MasterCard SecureCode. This is a private code that is only known to you and your financial institution, which authenticates your identity at the time of purchase.
  • Keep the records, know the facts– print out all the information on your record of purchase, including the product description, delivery information, privacy policy, warranties and any confirmation notices that the seller sends you. Alternatively, set up a folder on your computer where you can store all your transaction history. This way, if there is ever a dispute with the merchant or your bank, you have a record of the transaction on hand.

The next time you’re shopping online, remember these tips and use them as a checklist so that you can continue shopping online safely and securely.

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Winfred Kuria
Winfred Kuria is a self-constituted web content writer in charge of Tech News and Events Publicity at Kachwanya.com. She will communicate in the simplest way possible with an aim of changing the world one mind at a time.
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KENYA · TECH NEWS