Safe Online Shopping: 10 Tips to Avoid Getting Burned

You need to buy gifts for the holidays and you have to purchase them quickly. You can either brave the madness of shopping at your local mall or kick back in the home and buy all your gifts online. Doing your holiday shopping online can be a great way to save time while you find the appropriate gifts at the best price. You’ll miss the parking lot wars, avoid getting the flu from your fellow consumers, and stay out of pick-pockets’ crosshairs. But though it can be easy and convenient to look in your pajamas, you nevertheless still need to take precautions to make sure your electronic digital ‘purse strings’ are safe and secure. Here are some simple tips for safe online shopping:
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Secure your computer. Make sure your home computer has updated security software installed, and run regular system check to help keep hackers’ keylogging viruses away.
ONLY shop from your home. Don’t do your web shopping from the local caf�, the airport or various other public places. These open networks are easier targets for identification thieves to hack into your computer. Only shop from your own secured home network.
Click carefully. Your favorite store just sent you a great coupon! But wait! Before you select email links, be sure of where they lead. Scam emails can look similar to the real ones from your favorite stores, with back links that appear to take you to legitimate sites. But hover on the link and you may see a different web address – this could be a fake site, made to gather your credit card info for fraud. Your safest bet would be to manually navigate to your preferred retailer’s website.
Know thy merchant. Among best elements of online shopping is easily comparing prices to find a great deal. You may find the gift you need for half the price – but make sure the merchant is dependable and trustworthy. In the event that you haven’t done business with a merchant before, look for online reviews. Applying aggregators like Amazon.com and Yahoo Store shopping is another good way to make certain your merchant doesn’t consider you for a fraudulent sleigh drive.
Lock down your site. Once you visit a retailer’s website, look for “https” at the beginning of the URL. This “s” – along with a small gold lock in the lower-right corner of your browser – indicates an extra level of security for the online shopping.
Log out. Always logout securely when leaving a website.
Check if your payment details are stored. Some online browsing sites ask to be able to store your payment details for future purchases. It certainly is handy to have your details stored, especially if you use that site often. But, watch out for this on lesser-known websites.
Compare ‘real’ prices. Be sure you know how much you may be charged for shipping, and when you can find any taxes or fees which will be added to your web purchase. These ‘extras’ can add up quickly, so be sure you include them when comparison buying. Many retailers offer free transport around the holidays, and others allow free in-store pick-up of one’s online purchases – easy methods to add extra cost savings to your holiday shopping.
Know the Return Policy. Read the merchant’s return policy before making your purchase. One of many downsides of online shopping is the inability to ‘try it on’ or start to see the item before purchasing, so make sure your merchant offers you a good way to return/refund your purchase if it’s not what you expected.

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