Here are the measures to remember, which we will detail furthermore, before making online transactions:
- Shop at trusted sites
- Read customer reviews
- Check the website URL
- Protect your identity
- Use a protected wi-fi network
- Use a credit card with a small credit limit
- Protection against unauthorized credit and debit transactions
- Consult the exchange and refund policy
Everything can now be done online, even take a class remotely or consult a doctor! Shopping online is a quick and easy way to buy everything you need without leaving the house. This option has proven to be more practical and useful than ever since the onset of the pandemic.
It is now possible to do your grocery shopping, shop for furniture or order clothes in only a few clicks. Who would have thought it possible 20 years ago…? Does this practice intimidate or worry you? Follow the guide for the best practices.
Shop at trusted sites
Choose large, well-known chain stores where you are used to shopping. Otherwise, verify the identity of the merchant in question by locating the address and phone number on the website. If you are shopping at a Quebec site, you can check the Quebec business registry to confirm that the merchant you are dealing with actually exists.
Read customer reviews
A trusted site will allow you to read comments left by previous clients in order to spot a fraudulent merchant or to find out how satisfied they are with an item.
Check the website URL
Check that the website address begins with the letters HTTPS. The S indicates that the site is secure for transactions. What’s more, a closed padlock or a key should appear in the address bar.
Protect your identity
Be vigilant if you are asked too many questions to validate your identity and limit the personal information you reveal. Technically, a merchant should not ask you for your social insurance number, driver’s license number or date of birth to complete the transaction. If you are asked for this type of information, beware!
Use a protected wi-fi network
Do not make purchases from your smartphone when you are out of the house. Secure your Internet connection with a strong password to make sure that you are the only people able to use it.
Use a credit card with a small credit limit
Many people use a different credit card with a small credit limit for their online purchases. Thus, if you were to be a victim of fraud, the fraudulent expenses put on your card would be of lesser amounts.
Protection against unauthorized credit and debit transactions
Visa, MasterCard and American Express have a zero-liability policy for unauthorized transactions, meaning that you are not obliged to pay for fraudulent transactions that may have been made with your credit card number.
Consult the exchange and refund policy
Before buying online, check the merchant’s exchange or refund policy to avoid nasty surprises if the item doesn’t suit you once you have it at home. First, make sure the website you are purchasing from discloses their return policy. More and more brands offer a simplified return policy with no shipping fees and allow 30 days for exchanges and returns. An ideal practice!
What to do if you think you have been victim of fraud?
Do you realize after the transaction is completed that you have divulged personal information?
Do you notice transactions that you did not make showing up on your credit card statement?
Call your credit card company and report the incident to the Canadian Anti-fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 or antifraudcentre.ca.
In summary, remember that online shopping is a common practice. It is now anchored in the lives of Quebecers thanks to the pandemic. While it is safe to shop, you must take certain precautions. So have you been shopping online lately?