Dear DTI Consumer Power,
I enjoy online shopping. This enjoyment, however, also entailed several bad experiences with some fraudulent websites. My question is, how can I be ensured of an honest and protected online transaction? What are the things I should do and keep in mind?
Jessica, Quezon City
More than just a library of information, the Internet has evolved over the years and became one of the major platforms for doing business. An increasing number of consumers have been relying to the World Wide Web for purchasing various goods and services. The success of online shopping lies through its innovative way of transacting with the consuming public, without sacrificing convenience and accessibility. Simply connect to the Internet and voila—a digital shopping haven right before your very eyes.
As enticing as it may seem, consumers must still be vigilant so they can protect themselves from fraudsters, and engage in transactions without compromising their rights and welfare. The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has the following tips to share to the consuming public when shopping for products and services online.
Use your own computer/laptop to do your shopping. This is one way of ensuring that nobody else has access to your personal data and accounts. Remember that in online shopping, privacy is essential. You are not simply browsing through the Internet. You are spending your hard-earned money.
Install and update your computer’s anti-virus/anti-malware program. Hackers nowadays can easily access private data stored in a computer without even touching it. Make sure your anti-virus/anti-malware program is reliable and up-to-date for optimum protection from Internet security threats.
Use a password that cannot be easily guessed. Mix alphanumeric and special characters in creating your password. The harder it is to guess, the better.
Check for the contact information of the website and validate them. Call the telephone number/s and visit their office to know that they exist, and if they can address your queries and/or complaints.
Check the URL or website address. Most online shops accepting credit card payment use an SSL (secure sockets layer) encryption, which ensures a secure transaction. You would know if a website has SSL installed if the URL starts with “https” instead of just “http.”
Do not give too much information. In filling-up online forms, there are fields tagged as required and optional. Provide only what is being required and leave the rest blank.
Do not be deceived by huge discounts. Contact the website or the merchant to validate the offer. If the deal seems unrealistic, it is more likely a scam.
Look for the DTI sales permit number. This permit number is issued to duly registered businesses conducting local sales promotion open to the consuming public. To verify the sales permit number, visit DTI-National Capital Region’s website (dtincr.ph).
Read and understand the terms and conditions and payment methods. If an online shop’s policy and payment modes do not suit you, then do not transact with them. Look for other websites that may fit your needs.
Log-out your account after every transaction. Keeping your account logged in may expose it to hacking, so click the logout/log off/sign out link every time.
The impacts of globalization and advancements in technology have indeed transformed the way we transact business. But no matter how much commerce evolves, consumers must always be responsible and vigilant in making their choices in order to ensure their safety and protection.
k k k
The Department of Trade and Industry welcomes all inquiries, complaints, comments and suggestions from consumers. Call DTI Direct at 751-3330 from Monday to Friday is from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. or visit the DTI website www.dti.gov.ph.