Even medicines are now sourced online and customers are using the internet to purchase almost anything, so more than ever, customers should be aware of the ways to ensure their safety whenever shopping online.
An Online Pharmacy
Given the existence of plenty online drugstores on the web, it is often difficult for consumers to instantly identify stores that are able to provide excellent service to the consumers. Since most of the online drugstores today are visually attractive, customers may find it hard to separate reliable stores from scam sites, which jeopardizes their safety and security when shopping online.
How to Know if a Store is Legit
There are simple things consumers can do to tell if a website is legitimate or not. Simple checks for a shop’s authenticity can help buyers sift out the scam stores.
Here are some of the things you can do to avoid running into unreliable shops that can steal your money or your identity:
- Check if a store has been around for some time
One of the good markers of a legitimate online drugstore is the length of operations. It is good to check a shop’s age using various domain-checking online platforms like Scam Adviser to determine more details for a certain platform.
Having years of experience is an indication of reliability on one store’s part (although it’s not the sole indicator), so it is important to check the years of experience of a store before using it. You should also be aware that scam sites usually last less than a year because they tend to fail to renew their domain registries after a year has elapsed.
One example of a domain checking platform analysis result
- Read reviews, especially from independent websites
Another essential thing to do is to read reviews and consumer comments for a particular website. Third-party reviews are more reliable especially those from authority sites and forum sites they are from real consumers. However, not all on-site reviews are unreliable—there are still some on-site comments that are reliable but only those from stores with third-party services for their comments and reviews.
If still in doubt, ask around—start threads on forums and investigate on a web drugstore you’re planning to use to avoid running into fake sites.
- Check if the customer support team is responsive
Check if the store you’re eyeing has real phone numbers or just has bogus numbers. If the contact details are functional, you can check the response time of the store so you can gauge if the shops are responsive enough to trust. A store with a fast response or reply time is dependable, while a store with a slow or no response can indicate future communication problems.
- Make sure the store has reasonable deals
Customers should check if the available deals on a shop are reasonable (somewhere between impossibly cheap and super expensive). Stores with utterly cheap prices and unbelievable deals (i.e., giving products for free without any catch) are usually a scam and would just want you to use the store so they can steal your details.
Other Things to Keep in Mind
Searching for the appropriate web drugstore is only half the game in online shopping. There are other precautions you can do to make sure you’re 100% safe while browsing the web or purchasing your medicines online.
Some of the things to keep in mind include the following:
- Using exclusive “online” credit cards while shopping
You have to have a credit card with a separate spending limit that you can monitor easily. Using a credit card also helps you contest uncanny charges to your account. Debit cards do not allow you to retrieve your money, so use credit cards while shopping online.
- If possible, use only familiar sites
Use only websites that you’ve safely used before, if possible. If a shop does not look trustworthy, don’t buy your medicines there.
- Shop at sites with the padlock symbol
Make sure to shop at websites with the https:// symbol in their web address, or those with the padlock symbol. Stores that are HTTPS secure encrypt your payment forms so your financial information is inaccessible to hackers.
- Don’t shop online using public Wi-Fi connections
Just don’t—this makes you vulnerable to cyber-attacks. If you need to shop for something online outside of your home, just use your mobile data.
- Refrain from clicking unknown links
Think before you click—don’t visit links from pop-ups or links that appear on unsolicited and unfamiliar emails.
- Beware of deals that are too good to be true
Be rational while shopping online—not all deals you see on the web are true; most of them are merely clickbait.
- Install anti-virus, anti-malware, and anti-spyware programs
There is free software for these online. You need to inoculate your PC so you can stay secure.
What can happen if I don’t take my security seriously whenever shopping online?
Although you can safely shop for your medicines online, consumers not taking their safety seriously can end up experiencing the following:
- You can lose your money. You can come across shops that will only take your money and never ship your items.
- You can get your identity and financial information stolen. Some hackers may steal your credit or account information and use the info to rip you off.
- You can get fake medicines. Apart from the security and financial disadvantages, you may also receive fake medicines that can ultimately harm your health.
Shopping for your medicines online makes getting your meds convenient and hassle-free. However, you should be aware of the traits that set good stores apart from the bad ones so you end up getting the products you paid for. Besides this, you also need to make sure that you know steps that can help you shop for medicines safely and securely so you won’t get hacked or have your financial details stolen.