Online Shopping Risks

Published: 26th January 2010
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The use of packages, such as the popular balikbayan boxes, are popular methods for sending gifts back to the Philippines. However, another way to send gift Philippines is through the use of online shops based in the Philippines. Online gift shops became popular in the Philippines not only because they could provide an easier means for Filipinos to shop, but also provides overseas Filipinos an easier and more convenient ways to send their gifts back to the Philippines.

The main advantage of using online shops, particularly those based in the Philippines, is the convenience, the ease, and the faster delivery service that they could provide for overseas Filipinos. Compared to using balikbayan boxes, an overseas Filipino would only have to use a computer (which should be connected to the internet), and a ready bank account. Another advantage is that online shopping could be achieved even in the office, while working. This is because shopping may only take several minutes, from selecting their gifts to supplying the necessary information of the receiver. However, there are several disadvantages to using online shops to send gift Philippines.

One disadvantage of online shopping is the availability of items they provide. Although online shops in the Philippines offers a very wide selection of gift items, particularly those which are impossible to send through packages such as cooked foods, their collection could only go as far as the items available in the Philippines. Rare items such as unique signature clothing, electronics, and beauty products couldn't be found with any online shops found in the Philippines.

Another disadvantage is the risks of online shopping. Given the lack of ability to inspect merchandise before purchase, consumers are at higher risk of fraud on the part of the merchant than in a physical store. Another major disadvantage of online shopping is identity theft as well as credit card number interception. Although the use of Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption has generally solved the problem of credit card numbers being intercepted in transit between the consumer and the merchant, identity theft is still a concern for consumers when hackers break into a merchant's web site and steal names, addresses and credit card numbers.

To avoid such risks, customers should exercise precautions and careful analysis of the online shops they would use to send gift Philippines. Here are some of the basic precautions should one decide to use online shops:

Sticking with known stores. Popular examples of Philippine-based online shops are Flowers Express, MyFlowerDepot, Express Regalo, and more.
Before buying from a new company, evaluate the website by considering issues such as its professionalism and user-friendliness of the site.
Ensuring that the retailer has an acceptable privacy policy posted.
Ensuring that the vendor address is protected with SSL.
Using strong passwords, without personal information.
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