You can buy just about anything you want or need online. But are you shopping from home safely? There are people out there that will go to great lengths to steal your money and identity via cyber fraud and hacking. You don’t need to stop shopping online. What you do need to do is be smart about how you shop online and be cautious about which websites you go to purchase anything. Here are some tips to make sure you’re shopping online the right way.
First, make sure you’re shopping on a secure website. If you make a purchase on an unsecured website, you credit card information most likely will not be encrypted and hackers can get to it. How do you know if the site you’re on is secure? One way to tell is by looking at the URL. If the checkout page begins with https://, the “s” means it is a secure site. Furthermore, look for a closed padlock icon or a solid key icon in your browser as they too mean the site you’re on is secure.
Second, use a credit card. You can dispute charges on a credit card and withhold payment if something goes wrong with your order. The same cannot be done with PayPal, a debit card, a check, or a money order.
Third, disclose only facts that are necessary to your purchase. Many sites will require you to give information to verify your identity when it comes time to charge your credit card. This should not include things like a bank account routing number or your social security number. Do not give out sensitive information that is not pertinent to your purchase. Many sites will have an asterisk (*) next to fields that are required for you to fill out. Feel free to leave unnecessary fields blank.
Fourth, do not fall for e-mail scams. If a company sends you an e-mail saying something went wrong and your information needs to be updated, they will always ask you to go to the website and do it. Never give any sensitive information at all to a company via e-mail as it is most likely a scam.
Fifth, shop with companies located in the United States. The same privacy laws may not apply in other countries and you may be out of luck if something goes wrong with your order.
Hopefully these online shopping tips will help you as you search for the best buys and make online purchases this holiday season. Be smart and stay safe.