Online Shopping – Is it Safe?

So, the other day I am online and surfing for items for a nursery (my little boy is due in 5 weeks and time is running out. I am still working, so it is hard to get to the shops, and now that i am rather round and somewhat heavier, it is a little hard to walk around the shops for very long when i do actually get there). But back to the story… and there I see the most beautiful linen for the cot. It is perfect, so where can i buy it from… the usa… aargh online shopping – my worst nightmare. Not only am I afraid of handing over my banking details, but with postal delays, my boy will arrive first.

This got me thinking, I work at a leading web development  best online shopping website in pakistan  company, yet I am afraid to shop online. It was time to do some research… Is online shopping safe? Firstly, I discovered there are a lot of people out there who have a lot to say on the matter, and secondly, I am not the only “online shopping chicken” out there.

Rather than a simple “yes it is safe”, or “no it is not safe”, I discovered it is a little more complex. There are times when it is safe, and times when it is not. So i decided to compile a list of tips (from a number of sources) that help us to know when it is safe to hand over your life, I mean, bank details. Here they are:

Going with a no-namer or someone you have never heard of before is not recommended. Do a Google search on the company and see what comes up. It is very easy to find complaints & even compliments online so see what people have to say about the company. If the results are minimal, maybe it is just because they are small or just starting out, so try to call them & chat with someone there to get a feel. When dealing with a SA business you can also verify the information they provide by

This is vital, no one recommends using shopping sites without an SSL certificate in place. SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is the standard security technology that creates an encrypted link between a web server and browser. This link ensures that all data passed between the web server and browsers remain private. It can be identified primarily by the URL having an “s” after the http (i. e. https). You may also see a little lock in the bottom right corner of the browser, and some websites even give SSL details in their footer. This info only really needs to show on the page where you are filling in your banking details, etc.

The site may redirect you to a payment gateway of sorts, e. g.: PayGate, PayPal, etc. You should then check the reliability of the payment portal. Some sites will even allow you to do EFT’s if you are concerned about handing over your details. Read the fine-print and choose an option for payment that works for you.

If it doesn’t feel right – don’t do it. My mother always says: “When in doubt, leave it out”. If something seems questionable about a site – don’t place the order. You can always go back later. I was once about to place an order, but was unconvinced by the company – then later once realising I couldn’t find the product that cheaply again, I went back to try and find the website… I am still looking for it – a little dodgy I think.