We are now so used to carrying out financial transactions on the internet that they seem entirely safe and natural to us. However, sometimes we come across a new situation and need to stop to think about it. You might be completely comfortable completing certain transactions, such as paying by PayPal and using your bank account online, but what if you are on a car dealership website looking to arrange credit? Would you feel secure typing in important personal and financial details?
Thankfully, there are some simple guidelines you can follow which should make you feel safer when you do this from now on.
Find Others Who Have Used It
These days it is usually relatively easy to find out what other people think about any website or online service. The easiest way of all is obviously to speak to someone you know who has used the dealership site in the past. If they had a safe experience than you will feel reassured that you aren’t likely to run into any problems on there. If you don’t have anyone to give you their personal opinion in this way, then you could check online for reviews. A point to remember here is that people are usually more likely to take the trouble to go online and post a review if they are mad about something than if they are happy. However, there is also the risk of running across a site which has fake reviews that make the dealership sound like the best thing sliced bread. Ideally, you will find a variety of reviews, some good and some bad, but with nothing that makes you think that it is a scamming site, or that the company has security issues.
Check for the Security Certificate
You don’t have to be a technical genius to work out whether or not a dealership’s website has a valid and up to date security certificate. The easiest way to check is simply by using your computer’s internet browser. A warning will pop up automatically on most browsers when you enter a site that doesn’t have a valid security certificate. Most sites will also state when they have a valid certificate, and when they use SSL encryption technology to keep information on their site safe and secure. You could also do some online investigation to find out about the site’s security, although this might be pretty time-consuming. Don’t forget to look at the URL bar as well, as a little padlock symbol on there will highlight to you that the site is secure, and uses SSL to keep your details safe.
How Did You Get There?
Did you get to the site from a personal recommendation? Did you type in the full site URL? Or did you click on a link to get there?
The way you get to a site is important, as it can give you confidence that it is a trustworthy place to submit your financial details. Ideally, you will have typed in the full URL of a site, knowing that this is the official site of a dealership you know you can trust.
The same advice holds true when you are sorting out other car finance issues, such as getting performance car insurance for your Ferrari, or buying a warranty for your Skoda. You can often just leave a contact number for a call back, so you can do continue face to face, or over the phone. If in any doubt this is always the safest way to go. The key is to make sure you are dealing with a reputable company, with a solid track record.