The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), which has been involved in raising awareness and supporting the E-Commerce initiative since its inception last year, also expressed its great excitement in the potential of leveraging e-commerce as a major growth platform to MSMEs. Secretary Ramon M. Lopez said in one of his statements “we are re envisioning that the E-Commerce initiatives will play a pivotal role in making the Philippines as one of the strongest e-markets in Southeast Asia”.
The internet is a rich resource of a wide variety of goods and services, which can easily be purchased with a few clicks of our mouse or by tapping our fingers, wherever we are and whenever we want. Indeed, freedom to shop online is at our fingertips. However, with freedom comes personal responsibility. As smart and savvy e-consumers and online shoppers, it is our lookout and responsibility to ensure that we are protected when we transact in the online environment, be it on: (1) the merchant’s own website; (2) an e-marketplace/ online mall; or (3) a social networking site. Following are some tips before shopping online and completing your transaction:
- Secure yourself. Use a computer that is not for public use – preferably your own computer/laptop. Ensure that the computer you are using has an updated anti-virus and anti-malware software program, and an enabled personal firewall. Use a strong password (combination of upper case, lower case, numbers and symbols) upon registration with the online merchant. Keep it confidential. Log off from the merchant’s site and the internet browser after each use. Delete the browsing history in your computer once the purchase is done.
- Transact with a reputable website/merchant/seller. Use trusted websites rather than using search engines for shopping. Determine the legitimacy/authenticity of the website. Look for: A trust mark or a seal (similar to a seal of “good housekeeping”) issued by a trust mark body. The URL (Uniform Resource Locator) starting with “https” instead of “http” on the page where you will be doing your credit card transaction. This indicates that the page is using a secure sockets layer (SSL) and is backed by a web server certificate. A valid (not expired) web server certificate that is, preferably, not self-signed (which are easy to procure) but issued by a Certificate Authority. Do this by clicking on the padlock beside the URL or at the bottom of the browser. Check the merchant’s web address or URL for correctness. Make sure that it is the merchant’s real website. Be careful in misspelling the address to avoid being misdirected to a bogus merchant’s website.