Okay, so you have to buy a birthday present, you need it in a couple of days and you have no idea what to buy. Sound familiar? You can either head over to the mall and spend hours shopping or you can kick back and get online and find the perfect gift with next day delivery. No worrying about where to park, no waiting in line to pay and you don’t have to worry about spending hours hopelessly wandering around a mall when you’d rather being doing anything else. As easy as online shopping is you still need to take measure to protect yourself and keep your identity safe when shopping online. Here is how you can do just that.
- Start with your computer. Always make sure that you have your own security software installed and up to day. Run checks regularly or automate the task to do so.
- Shop from home and not Starbucks. You may be tempted to do your shopping at airports or coffee shops while you’re waiting but don’t. Those open Wi-Fi networks aren’t secure and you could end up with a lot of fraudulent charges.
- Be careful with coupons in your email. Every retailer in the world that has your email address is going to send you promotional offers. The problem is that hackers and fraudsters know this too. They send you spam emails hoping you follow the link back to the bad site and give them your credit card numbers. Always go directly to the retailers site yourself to use the coupon code.30
- Know where you are shopping. There are big sites like eBay or Amazon where you can feel perfectly comfortable shopping. If you found the perfect gift on a new site then you need to be more careful. First, look for the “https” at the beginning of the URL along with the little gold lock, it indicates that they take security seriously. Secondly, look for reviews and see if the retailer has a good reputation. Lastly, once you have completed your purchases don’t forget to log out of the site completely.
- Don’t store your credit card information. There are plenty of online sites that will offer to store your payment details for the next time you purchase. It encourages you to shop there by making it convenient. Remember that even big retailers like Macy’s can get hacked. Take the time to input your information each time.
- Don’t forget the cost and time of shipping. Some sites have exorbitant shipping rates making your bargain not so much of a bargain. On top of that your order is coming from China and it will take 6 weeks. That isn’t such a great deal after all. Check thoroughly the shipping policy before you place your order.
- Know the return policy. If there is any drawback at all to shopping online it has to be returning merchandise. Check thoroughly if and how you can return something and if you’re the one paying for shipping.
Shopping online is fast, easy and convenient but only if you take the time to protect yourself!