Online Shopping: 10 Tips For Safe Online Shopping

Have you ever bought a product or service from the internet?

Yes? Me too. You’re not alone…

Some of the reasons why most people are shopping online are: they can buy anything at anytime because Internet shopping is available 24 hours, all the time.

You can shop from the convenience of your home. You can avoid traffic and crowding at the malls.

Online shopping is one of the best ways to locate hard-to-find items not available in your local stores.

Whatever you buy can be delivered by mail to your house.

Most online stores and companies provide excellent values and discount prices because they do not have to pay the overhead of owning a physical business that will cost them insurance, employee pay, taxes and more.

VeriSign, Inc. says that online sales recorded during the prime holidays shopping season was about $2.2 billion dollars.

According to a study by Forrester Research Company, by 2010, online sales will reach $331 billion dollars.

More consumers are shopping online today than a year ago. The range of products they buy are many: software, hardware, electronics, digital products, music, toys, e-books, books, programs, DVD, flowers, pets, jewelry, clothes, air tickets, insurance, cars, prescription drugs, comic books, games, gifts and more.

They are flocking to buy from online bookstores, software stores, online computer stores, target stores, pet stores, liquor stores, drug stores, music stores, furniture stores, fabric stores, the Disney store, outlet stores, surplus stores, discount stores, thrift stores, gift stores, candy stores, lingerie stores, sports stores, video stores, sex stores, department stores, game stores, clothing stores and others.

Be a smart and savvy online shopper. Shop wisely and safely.

Here are a few tips to help you do your online shopping safely.

(1) Shop at the websites of companies that you know and are popular offline.

If you’re not sure of the company, request their catalog or brochure first.

Be sure they have a physical address and phone, as well as an e-mail address. Call them and speak to a human being first.

Check with the yellow pages and the Better Business Bureaus to be sure the company is legitimate.

Read all the fine print and the refund policy before you place an order.

You may read about product reviews and what other shoppers have to say about a company at:

http://www.epinions.com, http://www.consumersearch.com, http://www.productopia.com, http://www.deja.com

Here are some internet shopping agents’ sites:

[http://www.comparenet.com], [http://vo.infospace.com], http://bottomdollar.com

To read about reviews on shopping stores, regarding ease of use, pricing, selection and service go to:

http://www.gomez.com, http://www.bizrate.com , http://www.ratingwonders.com

To read about web business frauds and get help to avoid being a victim, go to:

http://www.fraud.org , http://www.bbbonline.org , http://www.webassured.com

(2) Keep a record of all your purchases.

Most people are by nature disorganized and unable to keep records. Learn to keep records of all your online purchases. This will help you keep track of your spending and shopping.

Print all receipts or save them on your computer in a folder named “receipts”.

This will help you locate orders that you placed but were never delivered.

The more organized you are the less negative online shopping experience you’ll have.

(3) Keep all your important personal information safe.

Don’t give them to strangers who may call you over the phone or request them by e-mail.

Personal information includes: your address, e-mail address, phone number, social security number, drivers license, age, information about your family.

Don’t give them to any stranger and, also, teach your children not to do so.

(4) Keep your passwords private.

When creating a password, avoid using phone numbers, birth dates or social security numbers.

Be creative. Use a password that is not easy for others to guess, and yet not easy for you to forget.

Change your passwords often. Use phrases to help you remember them.

Don’t disclose passwords to anyone.

(5) Use a credit (but never debit) card to make your payment.

Be sure to keep all credit card payment receipts. Check your credit card account statements to be able to spot any unauthorized charges.

When you buy certain goods and services from some companies, sometimes they will keep billing you thereafter. So scrutinize your statements. If you see a charge you’re not sure of, call the billing merchant and check it out.

Keep your credit cards secure.

Avoid making a payment using your credit card on a public computer.

Report any lost credit cards immediately and have them cancelled. Don’t give anyone that you don’t know your credit card number.

(6) Read the return policy before placing an order.

Be sure that you read and understand the return policy and warranty.

(7) Read and understand the company’s privacy statement (or policy).

A privacy statement tells you how and why a business is collecting your information, and how that information may be used.

You may find the company’s privacy statement (or policy) at the very bottom of the home page or inside their “Terms & Conditions” or “Terms of Service” (TOS).

(8) Use a secure browser and server.

Be sure whatever browser you’re using complies with the industry’s security standards, such as secure sockets layer (SSL).

This security protocol scrambles or encrypts the personal information you send over the Internet to ensure your transaction is secured.

How do you know if the server is secure where you’re making a payment?

If a Web site is using secure technology, its Web address begins with https and a tiny locked padlock appears at the bottom right corner of the screen.

(9) Check out a few stores and compare prices before buying.

Look for hidden costs such as shipping and handling.

(10) Use Yahoo Search Engine for all your searches.

Yahoo continues to be, not only the largest online company, but also, the best Search Engine.

Unlike the other popular Search engine, which keeps companies in a sandbox for many months and refuses to give them rankings for many months, Yahoo is pro business and gives immediate rankings to companies and business.

Their search result is also excellent. That may be one reason why 60% of people online (including me) love Yahoo.

Also, they have the most reliable and the best hosting service in the world.

For these reasons, I strongly recommend you use Yahoo to do all your searches.

Happy and safe online shopping.

Warmly,

I-key Benney

7 Tips to Help You Enjoy a Safe Online Shopping Experience

Buying online offers a great shopping experience. You can enjoy lower prices and the package is delivered to your doorstep in a couple of days if not hours. Given below are a few tips that can help you enjoy a safer online buying experience.

1. Use a Secure Connection

First of all, make sure your computer is free of any malicious software or your password may get stolen. Despite the risk, only a fraction of US residents protect their computers from viruses. So, it’s better that you use a secure connection and keep your firewall always on.

2. Buy from a Reputable Merchant

Buying from a reputable merchant is a must. After all, you don’t want to end up compromising on the safety of your credit card details. All you need to do is do your homework before buying from a new merchant. If the store you are going to buy from is not reputable, look for a different store.

3. Avoid Unreasonable Offers

If an offer seems too good to be true, leave it. The prices offered by a store should be fair. If the prices are unreasonably low, know that something is fishy. Often, disreputable online stores sell items at unreasonably low prices. You should keep away from such scammers.

4. Don’t Forget to read the Terms and Conditions

Before you buy a gift card, make sure that the store is legitimate. Also, you may not want to forget reading the terms and conditions. They will help you make the right choice. After all, you don’t want to end up paying for hidden charges.

5. Don’t Work with a Seller that asks for too much information

When buying online, you have to provide a lot of required details like your email address, mobile number, shipping address, and payment method. However, if a merchant asks for additional information, close the page and walk away.

For instance, if you are asked for your driver’s license number, social security information and bank account information, know that they are scammers.

6. Create a Unique, Strong Password

Often, you have to create an account when buying online. Typically, signing up is not mandatory. It’s better to place your order and check out without creating an account unless you are the regular buyer of the store. Even if you choose to create an account, make sure your password is unique and strong.

7. Use your Credit Card or PayPal

It’s always a great idea to use your credit card to buy online. Actually debit cards don’t come with enough security, unlike a credit card. If someone makes unauthorized transactions using your credit card information, your bank will limit your liability to $50. On the other hand, your debit card will not offer this protection. So, you can either use your credit card or PayPal for making payments.

So, make sure you follow these tips when buying online to ensure you are always on the safe side. Hopefully, these tips will help you enjoy a safe online buying experience.

Safe Online Shopping: 10 Tips to Avoid Getting Burned

You need to buy gifts for the holidays and you need to purchase them quickly. You can either brave the madness of shopping at your local mall or kick back at home and buy all your gifts online. Doing your holiday shopping online can be a great way to save time while you find the right gifts at the best price. You’ll skip the parking lot wars, avoid getting the flu from your fellow shoppers, and stay out of pick-pockets’ crosshairs. But though it may be easy and convenient to shop in your pajamas, you still need to take precautions to make sure your electronic ‘purse strings’ are safe and secure. Here are some simple tips for safe online shopping:

Secure your computer. Make sure your home computer has updated security software installed, and run regular system check to keep hackers’ keylogging viruses away.

ONLY shop from home. Don’t do your online shopping from the local cafĂ©, the airport or other public places. These open networks are easier targets for identity thieves to hack into your computer. Only shop from your secured home network.

Click carefully. Your favorite store just sent you a great coupon! But wait! Before you click on email links, be sure of where they lead. Scam emails can look just like the real ones from your favorite stores, with links that appear to take you to legitimate sites. But hover over the link and you may see a different web address – this could be a fake site, designed to gather your credit card information for fraud. Your safest bet is to manually navigate to your favorite retailer’s website.

Know thy merchant. One of best parts of online shopping is easily comparing prices to find a great deal. You may find the gift you want for half the price – but make sure the merchant is reputable and trustworthy. If you haven’t done business with a merchant before, look for online reviews. Using aggregators like Amazon.com and Yahoo Shopping is another good way to make sure your merchant doesn’t take you for a fraudulent sleigh ride.

Lock down your site. When 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 your online shopping.

Log out. Always logout securely when leaving a website.

Check if your payment details are stored. Some online shopping sites ask if you want to store your payment details for future purchases. It’s always handy to have your information stored, especially if you use that site often. But, watch out for this on lesser-known websites.

Compare ‘real’ prices. Make sure you know how much you will be charged for shipping, and if there are any taxes or fees that will be added to your online purchase. These ‘extras’ can add up quickly, so be sure you include them when comparison shopping. Many retailers offer free shipping around the holidays, and others allow free in-store pick-up of your online purchases – easy ways to add extra savings to your holiday shopping.

Know the Return Policy. Read the merchant’s return policy before making your purchase. One of the downsides of online shopping is the inability to ‘try it on’ or see the item before purchasing, so make sure your merchant offers you an easy way to return/refund your purchase if it’s not what you expected.

Choose Credit – not Debit. If possible, use a credit card to pay for online purchases. Federal law limits your liability to $50 in the event of fraud. Better yet, many credit card companies will waive this liability, and offer advanced fraud protection and detection programs to keep you safe.

Keep an eye out. If you are doing a lot of online shopping, make sure to check your account and credit card statements regularly to verify all charges. If you have questions about a transaction or suspect fraud, call your financial institution immediately.

Save your Receipts! Just as with in-store shopping, you’ll want to save all your receipts from online shopping. You may choose to save emailed receipts on your computer, or print them out and file with other receipts.

The bottom line! You can take advantage of the Internet’s great shopping opportunities and still have peace of mind!