This question is not an easy one to answer. The unsatisfying, quick answer would be: it depends …
When visiting an online shop your first stopping point should always be the imprint/legal notice page. Here you can find the most important info regarding the company you’re dealing with.
Look for these information:
- Who is the company behind the shop?
- Where is the company located?
- Can you easily find a variety of contact information?
- Know your rights and the company’s returns policy.
- Does the page look trustworthy?
A beautiful webshop alone is no indication of a trustworthy shopowner. A quick google search can help you find reports of scamming and other problems.
A secure connection
Never enter personal or even your payment information on a page that does not use SSL encryption. This ensures, that your data won‘t be sent in plain text across the web. You can find out if a page has a secure connection in the address bar of your browser next to the URL. A secure connection is indicated by a green or grey lock and the letters https:// infront of the webaddress.
Keep in mind, even with all the best practices and intentions – sometimes accidents happen. Pages get hacked and data get exposed. A good company will always be open about these things and inform it‘s customers as soon as possible.
There are some things you can and should do to make sure you stay safe:
- Use strong passwords
- Don’t use the same password for multiple pages/accounts
- Only enter your personal information if necessary
- Check and doublecheck the URL or sender of an email for validity
- Keep browsers and virus protection up-to-date
- Avoid public WiFi when sending personal information.
- Check your banking statements on a regular basis