You must be continuously educated to protect yourself when shopping online because many people still click links within emails, or in texts to access websites when they receive convincing messages like great deals, account hacked, or any other reason that can just make a consumer click the link which can sometimes be detrimental to their devices and personal information.
As the number of ecommerce sites grows each day, more and more people prefer to shop online for convenience, choices, and ease of price comparison. Online shopping is easier than ever before with Internet connected computers, phones or tablets. With the availability of Wi-Fi in many locations, Internet access for online shopping is no longer an issue although security has become a major concern for consumers and businesses.
If you are a regular online shopper, there are a few steps that you can take to protect yourself when shopping online from identity theft, prevent online fraud, and avoid paying higher prices.
First, make sure you are on the right website. There are many fake sites that look exactly like the authentic ones. Avoid clicking links from emails which can direct you to fake sites. Type the website address and double check the spelling to make sure you didn’t mistype and protect yourself when shopping online.
Second, avoid visiting less known websites, especially if the websites don’t show a security lock to indicate that the website is secure for shopping. Read online reviews from other people who bought items from that website and look for feedback about the quality of services and any issues with payment, delivery, scams, and complaints.
Third, consolidate your shopping lists. Know what you want to buy in advance and plan ahead. Determine what items you want to buy and place them in categories that can be purchased from one merchant. Limiting the number of websites from which you buy things will reduce the number of times that you share your credit card and personal information, thus, reducing your online shopping risks.
Once you have selected your items and placed them in the shopping cart, you must decide how to pay. Credit cards are the most common type of payments whether you enter a card number or use your fingerprint to authorize the payment. Credit cards offer some protection that other methods of payment may not. For example, if there’s a problem, the law gives consumers the right to dispute credit card charges and temporarily withhold payment while the dispute is investigated. If someone uses your credit card without your permission, your liability is limited to 50 dollars but most credit card companies waive all charges to keep their customers happy.
As a reminder, before you enter your credit card or other sensitive information online, make sure the website address is correct and starts with “https”. The “s” stands for “secure” and means that your information is encrypted before it’s transmitted. You can also look for the lock sign which would also indicate the site is secure to protect yourself when shopping online.
Other online shopping considerations include shipping terms and costs, prices, return policies, taxes, other costs, and perks like coupons, discounts, and free shipping.
With careful planning when selecting merchants and products for online shopping, you can be confident that you have the best deal and stay safe when shopping online. Even if you shop in the stores, you can check the prices online to make sure you are not overpaying.