Is eCommerce Legit—Considerations, Verification, and Common Dangers
Updated · Mar 04, 2023
More and more people are shopping online these days, drawn by the convenience and possible savings of buying goods and services over the internet.
Many still wonder, is ecommerce legit?
Is it a safe way to shop?
Are there dangers lurking in the cyberworld that can steal your money or personal information?
Of course, just as there are IRL. In this article, we'll take a brief look at what ecommerce is, some of the dangers that come with shopping online, and how to tell if an online store is legitimate.
We'll also offer some tips on how to stay safe while shopping online.
What Is eCommerce and Its Benefits?
eCommerce, also known as electronic commerce, is the buying and selling of goods and services online.
While it has been around for nearly three decades, ecommerce has exploded in recent years, thanks to the ubiquity of high-speed Internet and mobile devices.
However, this has also led to the rise of ecommerce scams.
Today, there are billions of dollars worth of goods and services traded online each year, and that figure is only expected to grow.
There are many benefits to using ecommerce, both for businesses and consumers.
It offers a fast and convenient way to reach a global market for businesses. It also reduces operating costs and can help businesses automate their sales processes.
For consumers, ecommerce offers a convenient way to compare prices and find the best deals while also providing access to a broader range of offers.
Remember, with courier services; the goods will come to you.
eCommerce Fraud and the Other Dangers of Shopping Online
So, shopping has become more convenient than ever.
In just a few clicks, you can have products delivered to your doorstep with no need to leave the comfort of your home.
However, as convenient as online shopping may be, it also comes with its fair share of risks.
The main one is the danger of getting scammed by bogus websites selling fake or counterfeit products.
In addition, online shoppers are often targets of identity theft and credit card fraud. Luckily, many of the dangers stem from social engineering rather than hardware and software vulnerabilities.
Most commonly, this takes the form of phishing websites pretending to be legitimate businesses.
How to Know if a Shopping Website is Legit
You can do a few things to verify an online store is legitimate.
First, check for contact information such as a phone number or email address. If the only way to contact the company is through a form on their website, that's a red flag.
Second, take a look at the company's history. A legitimate company will have been in business for at least a few years or will have some online presence outside of its own website—for example, social media pages, testimonials by other verified sites, etc.
Third, check if a website is legit by looking for HTTPS in the URL and/or a padlock icon in the browser bar. This means that the site uses SSL encryption to protect your personal and financial information.
Larger stores have a padlock and a green bar at the beginning of the address bar. This indicates that the SSL certificate has been issued to the site after an extended validation.
In other words, the issuing authority has conducted comprehensive checks to validate the legitimacy of the business. To confirm its legal status, you can click on the green bar and see the info displayed there: business name, address of registration, and so forth.
On the other hand, regular SSL certificates indicate that a site is concerned with security and has been vetted to some level; they are easy to obtain.
Lastly, read reviews from other customers to get an idea of their experience with the site. Check sites such as TrustPilot, TrustRadius, and G2.
Tips for Staying Safe While Shopping Online
Besides following the tips for knowing if a shopping website is legit, there are some other ways to protect yourself when shopping online.
First, be sure to use a secure payment method such as PayPal or if you’re using a credit or debit card, make sure the payment gateway is legit.
If you’re worried about your activity being intercepted, you can also use VPNs and password managers to mask your activity and keep your data safe.
Finally, keep an eye on your credit card and bank statements for unauthorized charges. Even if your ecommerce activity is legit, this is just good financial practice.
If you suspect you've been the victim of fraud, report it to the proper authorities immediately.
The Future Of eCommerce Safety
The future of ecommerce looks bright, and with each passing day, it becomes a little bit safer, despite the appearance of an ecommerce scam here or there.
Of course, there are still dangers that lurk online. As tools increase in strength, so too do the ways to overcome them. As long as you follow the tips above, you should be just fine.
Perhaps one day, the ultimate security solution will come along and fix everything, but one thing that can be defeated for you is social engineering. Keeping your wits about you is a golden rule online and off.
So, is ecommerce legit?
Of course, it is, but not everyone involved in it is.
With that in mind, please make use of these handy tips, and keep an eye out for technology on the horizon that won’t only make online even shopping safer but perhaps change the way we do it entirely.
Garan is a writer interested in how tech reshapes the environment, and how the environment reshapes tech. You'll usually find him inoculating against future shock and arguing with bots.