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Online shopping has taken hold of the Jamaican market and the trend is showing no signs of slowing down. However, before you commit to this new trend, learn how to shop safely and smartly online.

 

SECURITY TIP

Keep Your Operating System and Application Software up to date

Web browsers, operating systems and application software such as PDF readers require regular security patches. Turn on automatic updates so your software will notify you of the latest fixes and install them when they are available.

 

Maintain A Full, Up To Date Internet Security Suite

Anti-virus protection is no longer enough to protect you against cyber threats. Firewall and anti spyware, combined with anti-virus software are vital when putting your personal and financial details online.

 

Consider Your Search Engine Results Carefully

Don’t assume that the top results are the best as cyber criminals can use search engine optimisation techniques to lure you to an infected site.

 

Be Wary Of Outrageous Claims In Online Advertisements

Cyber criminals create banners, links and special offers to attract you to an infected site.

 

Look For The ' https:// ' Site Security Indicator

Only pay via a secure web page (one that has a valid digital certificate)—look for the https at the beginning of the address bar and a locked padlock in the browser.  A closed padlock and green background will confirm that the site uses SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) encryption to scramble the data before it is sent over the Internet.  It is important to note that SSL only ensures that the data is encrypted and does not guarantee that the recipient will use it legitimately.

 

Choose A Strong Password And Use Different Passwords For Different Sites

A strong password should ideally consist of letters (upper and lower case), numbers and symbols and be at least 10 characters in length. It is worth the effort to use different passwords for each site you purchase from in case any of the websites are compromised.

 

Credit Or Debit Card For Online Shopping?

Use a secure payment method such as PayPal, BPay, or your credit card (avoid money transfers and direct debit, as these can be open to abuse).  Set up a credit card with a low limit for online transactions.  Never send your bank or credit card details via email—only via a secure web page.

 

Keep Receipts And Check Statements

Save a PDF or print a copy of every tax invoice or payment receipt that online vendors are required to provide. Check each purchase on your bank statement for any hidden costs or erroneous billing.

 

Is The Business Legitimate?

Make certain the site you are visiting is well presented and relevant to what you are searching for. Apply caution, look for errors and don’t be led down fake links.

 

Know Your Seller As Well As You Can

If you are purchasing from a retail site, record the outlet’s physical address and phone number, if available, so you can readily contact them if needed. If purchasing via an auction site, it will have some form of reputation monitoring system to confirm the seller’s trustworthiness.

 

Look Out For Scams

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

 

CONSUMER TIPS

Use A Promo Or Coupon Code

If you are looking to save online, it’s all about the promo or coupon code. The good news is that if a coupon code exists for your favorite store, you can find it online fairly easily. You could simply do a Google search for the store plus the phrase “coupon code.”

 

Get On Retailers’ Email Lists For Money Saving Perks

A retailer’s mailing list is one of their best assets and they treat these assets very well. By getting on a retailer’s mailing list you will be the first to know about exclusive sales, deals and money saving offers including coupons. You’ll also get exclusive offers by mail.

 

Follow Your Favorite Retailers On Facebook Or Twitter

Engaging your favorite retailers in social media such as Facebook and Twitter can save you money. Retailers love their Facebook fans and their Twitter followers and will go to great lengths to gather and keep them by offering exclusive money saving coupons and promo codes.

 

Know The Product

Ensure the product is legal and will work in Australia. Check that any warranties or guarantees offered are valid in Australia and that an authorised repairer is close by.

 

Check The Contract

Carefully read the terms and conditions, refund policy, delivery details and policies on costs associated with returns and repairs.

 

Check The Full Cost

Be aware of the full cost of your purchase, including currency conversion, taxes, delivery fees, packaging and postage. After adding these costs, it may be cheaper to buy locally.

 

Keep Records

Print your order before and after you confirm. Write down any reference numbers, and print any receipts that display on screen or are emailed to you. Depending on the type of payment used, check your credit card statement, merchant account (such as PayPal) or bank account to ensure you have been charged correctly.

 

OTHER THINGS TO CONSIDER

  • if the item is legal in Jamaica and if it requires an import permit
  • what import duties or taxes apply
  • what the cost will be in Jamaican dollars
  • whether and how you can get a refund
  • if the products meet the country of origin's product safety standards
  • what ‘after sales’ support you will be entitled to

 


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