E-commerce in Saudi Arabia is gradually growing year on year. An article published in Saudi Gazette stated that the e-commerce market share was expected to increase to SR 50 billion by 2015.

Don’t become a victim of online shopping traps

Currently, 70 million e-commerce pages are visited every month by people living in Saudi Arabia and one in four residents are considered to be active users. Popular online websites include the likes of Souq.com, Sukar.com, Namshi and MarkaVIP.

A study carried out by Northwestern University in Qatar touched upon the great potential of the nation’s e-commerce market. The study titled “Media Use in the Middle East” analyzed various media interactions of people living in the region. It stated that 82% of people in Saudi Arabia were active internet users with 90% of them using it as a means to search for product information. Strikingly the findings also revealed that 62% of cardholders in Saudi Arabia were only somewhat concerned or not at all concerned about security of financial information online. Evidently increased awareness is needed among customers as they have to be informed about the dangers of stolen financial information during online shopping.

Shopping online is generally stress free as your desired products are just a click away. However to shop responsibly, secure your personal information andcontrol shopping urges. Constant online shopping can easily burn a hole in your pocket. Check out tips below to avoid becoming a victim of online shopping traps and schemes.

  1. If you haven’t bought anything from an online website before, or don’t know anyone who has, it is highly advisable to do a thorough research. Check if the company is listed and call their customer service to clarify on any terms and conditions. Another trick is to look for reviews on products bought from a particular site or queries by other customers.
  2. Look for signs of a secure site such as a Cybertrust, D&B, McAfee or “https:” (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) in the URL of the pages. Especially those which specifically require your personal information.
  3. Never wire transfer money directly to purchase an item, especially if it’s a deal which seems too good to be true. Instead use your credit card as the charges can be disputed in case your item never arrives.
  4. If you’re a regular online shopper, keep a close eye on your credit card statements. Check for any irregular activity or purchases from unfamiliar stores. Another good tip is to allot one specific card for any of your online shopping such as an internet credit card. This way you can easily track your purchases.
  5. Always use a secure network as it’s easy for hackers to get personal information through public Wi-Fi or hotspots. So, limit your online shopping to home rather than a local coffee shop.
  6. Consider additional charges such as shipping. It’s a common mistake not to account for shipping charges or customs and perhaps that’s why some products are much cheaper online than in stores. Remember, sometimes free shipping is only reserved for members.