Shopping medicines online is indeed a convenient alternative to buying meds locally because it can be done from anywhere a person is plus the prices online is so cheap that it helps customers rake in on savings. But there are a lot of things that a customer should know first and watch out for before doing so to avoid some of the most common dangers that most of them overlook when doing their online shopping.
Fake or scam pharmacy websites are just one of the examples of the risk that the customers face in getting their drugs from the internet. These sites are dangerous because they are being operated by hackers and scammers that only use the site to steal personal and credit card information from customers. One of the biggest dangers is that these sites appear to be as legitimate as the genuine online drugstores with all the products and offers that’s why many unsuspecting buyers fall victim to their scheme. Once these fraudsters get their hands on the customer’s important details such as their passwords, their email, card numbers and others, they can do a lot of damage.
These hacker-operated fake pharmacies can even do some damage to a customer’s computer or mobile device if they get the chance to send malware and viruses. But in spite of all these risks, there’s still a way to avoid them and find out whether an online pharmacy is genuine or not. There are certain traits to watch out for to determine if shopping from a particular online pharmacy is safe and customers can detect them easily. There are also certain steps that a customer must do in order to be safe each time they go online and we will be discussing some of them in detail.
How to Know if an Online Pharmacy is Safe
Look for the “HTTPS” instead of “HTTP” in the URL
This is one of the most basic yet important detail that a customer must look for when making online medicine purchases. HTTP means Hypertext Transfer Protocol and it is the procedure over which the data is sent from the customer’s browser to the site that they’re visiting. In the HTTP websites, the information that’s being sent between a user’s computer to the website that they are transacting with is in plain text. If in any case this communication between the customer and the website is intercepted by an outside source, they will easily see all the data that was sent by the user to the site. This means that passwords, forms, and everything will be open to access by outsiders.
HTTP vs HTTPS
On the other hand, HTTPS sites are the ones to trust since they encrypt all the information that the customers send and receive over the network. HTTPS means Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure and it uses secure sockets layer certificates that ensures all the information sent by the customer passes through a safe tunnel to its terminus. There is a padlock icon that can be seen somewhere near the URL of HTTPS sites meaning it is secure. Buyers who will be purchasing from HTTPS online pharmacies are guaranteed of the security of their transactions.
Check the site’s URL in pharmacy-checking sites
To help customers battle the onslaught of the increasing number of scam pharmacies on the web, many companies have set-up websites whose sole purpose is to help customers determine whether a site should be trusted or not.
LegitScript, a Pharmacy-Checking Site
These sites have a very large database that are able to advise the customers if the pharmacy site that they are visiting is a legitimate one or hacker-operated. These sites are a great help to customers especially for the ones who are only starting to look for websites to trust.
Watch out for offers that are too good to be true
Ninety percent of the time, they are. Websites with ridiculous offers are just baits for unsuspecting customers to lure them in. These tactics are commonly used by scammers to get a hold of the customer’s personal data and card information when they proceed to enter them in the forms. Since every customer has a weakness for bargains, this is the most successful ploy that the fraudsters use. Not all online pharmacies who have great offers are scams but buyers should be very careful before deciding to purchase to avoid being sold counterfeit or non-existent goods.
Browse the website
Buyers should take a few minutes of looking around an online pharmacy site before they proceed with ordering. Customers should also watch out for poor English with grammar or spelling errors as it’s a sign that it was set-up by someone overseas that looks to make a swift profit.
Never pay using bank transfers
This should already raise alarms to a customer if an online pharmacy is asking for a payment via bank transfer.
If a customer manages to find out that what they have purchased turns out to be a fake or a scam offer, there is a very little chance that they will still be able to get their money back. Unlike in using credit card or debit cards, there are safety nets which give the customers the right to get their money back by reporting the issue to their banks.
Read online reviews for the pharmacy
Reviews within the online pharmacy itself are most of the time unreliable and fabricated that’s why customers should look for online reviews which are more trustworthy. Online reviews provide more transparent and unbiased evaluations from customers and potential buyers will get a chance to see the website’s true identity. Customers can also check a website’s social media pages to see what people say about them.
In shopping for medicines online, customers should first know their pharmacy before they decide to make a purchase. In this way, they will be able to protect their identity and card information from opportunists and scammers that operate fake pharmacy sites. Buyers should only go with reputable and tested online drugstores.