How to Be Sure a Website Is Safe before Clicking Buy

Buying Online in Solomon Islands

Online shopping is a convenient way to buy things without leaving your home or office. But how can you be sure that the website you are buying from is safe and not a scam? Here are some tips to help you shop online with confidence and avoid getting ripped off.

Check the Website Domain and URL

Before you click on a link or enter a website address, make sure it looks legitimate. Some scammers create fake websites that look like well-known brands or local businesses, but have slight differences in spelling or domain extension. For example, instead of www.bulksolomons.com.sb, they might use www.bulksolomon.com or www.bulksolomons.sb. These websites might try to trick you into entering your personal or financial information, or infect your device with malware.

To avoid these traps, you can use a website scanner tool like VirusTotal.com to check if a website is safe or malicious. You can also use a URL expander tool like CheckShortURL.com to see the full version of a shortened URL. If something looks suspicious, don’t click on it.

Check the SSL/TLS Certificate to Verify the Website’s Digital Identity

Another way to tell if a website is safe is to look for the HTTPS protocol and the security padlock icon in the browser address bar. These indicate that the website uses encryption to protect your data from being intercepted by hackers. However, encryption alone is not enough to ensure safety. You also need to know who you are dealing with.

To verify the website’s digital identity, you can click on the padlock icon and view the SSL/TLS certificate information. This will show you the name of the organization that owns the website, its location, and other details. If the website uses an organization validation (OV) or extended validation (EV) certificate, it means that it has undergone more rigorous checks by a trusted certificate authority (CA) like DigiCert or Sectigo. These certificates provide higher levels of assurance and trust than domain validation (DV) certificates, which only verify that the website owner controls the domain.

For example, if you visit www.kosi.com.sb, you will see that it uses an OV certificate issued by DigiCert. This means that DigiCert has verified that Kokonut Solomon Islands (KOSI) is a legitimate company registered in Solomon Islands, and that it operates the website. You can also see KOSI’s address and phone number on the certificate.

Image caption: A screenshot of KOSI’s SSL/TLS certificate information.

Think Critically and Carefully Evaluate What You’re Seeing

Sometimes, scammers can create fake websites that look very professional and convincing, using HTTPS and OV or EV certificates. They might also use fake reviews, logos, seals, or offers to lure you into buying their products or services. To avoid falling for these tricks, you need to use your common sense and critical thinking skills.

Read the content of the website carefully and look for any spelling or grammatical errors, vague or filler text, or stock images. Evaluate the products and prices and see if they match the market value and quality standards. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Also, pay attention to what the website is asking you to do or share. If it requests information that is irrelevant or excessive for the transaction, such as your social security number, bank account details, or security questions, be wary. These could be signs of phishing attempts to steal your identity or money.

Read Reviews and News About the Company

Another way to check if a website is safe is to read what other people have said about it. You can look for reviews from customers or experts on sites like Yelp, Trustpilot, Consumer Reports, Angie’s List, and others. You can also check if there are any complaints or reports about the website or company on sites like the Better Business Bureau (BBB) or local consumer protection agencies.

However, be careful not to rely solely on reviews, as some of them might be fake or biased. Scammers can hire people to write positive reviews for their websites, or negative reviews for their competitors. To spot fake reviews, look for patterns such as:

  • Too many reviews posted in a short period of time
  • Reviews that are too vague or generic
  • Reviews that use similar wording or phrases
  • Reviews that have no verified purchase or proof of experience
  • Reviews that are overly positive or negative

Check the Company’s Info Against Official Databases and Resources

Finally, you can verify the legitimacy of a website or company by checking its records against official databases and resources. In Solomon Islands, you can do this by searching the state that the company claims to be registered in. For example, you can search the Ministry of Commerce, Industry, Labour and Immigration’s database for information on registered businesses in Solomon Islands.

You can also check if the website or company has any affiliations or accreditations with reputable organizations or authorities in its industry. For example, if you are buying coconut products from KOSI, you can see that it is a member of the Coconut Industry Working Group (CIWG), a network of coconut stakeholders supported by the Australian Government initiative, Strongim Bisnis. You can also see that it has received awards and recognition from various local and international entities.

Conclusion

Online shopping can be fun and convenient, but it also comes with risks. To be sure that a website is safe to buy from, you need to do your homework and follow some simple steps:

  • Check the website domain and URL
  • Check the SSL/TLS certificate to verify the website’s digital identity
  • Think critically and carefully evaluate what you’re seeing
  • Read reviews and news about the company
  • Check the company’s info against official databases and resources

By doing these steps, you can shop online with confidence and avoid getting scammed. Remember, when in doubt, don’t buy. And if you do buy something online, always keep a record of your transaction and monitor your bank statements for any unauthorized charges.

We hope you found this article helpful and informative. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to share them below. And if you enjoyed this article, please share it with your friends and family who might also benefit from it.

Happy online shopping! ????