Safe Online Shopping: 10 Tips to Avoid Getting Burned

You have to buy gifts for the holidays and you have to purchase them quickly. It is possible to often brave the madness of buying at your neighborhood 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 very best price. You’ll skip the parking lot wars, avoid obtaining the flu from your fellow buyers, and stay out of pick-pockets’ crosshairs. But though it may be easy and convenient to look in your pajamas, you still need to take precautions to be sure your electronic ‘purse strings’ are safe and sound. Here are some simple strategies for safe online shopping:

Secure your computer. Ensure that your home computer has updated security program installed, and run regular program check to help keep hackers’ keylogging viruses away.

ONLY shop from home. Don’t do your online shopping from the local caf�, the airport or various other public places. These open systems 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 an excellent voucher! But wait! Before you select email links, be certain of where they lead. Fraud emails can look just like the real ones from your own 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 details for fraud. Your safest wager would be to manually navigate to your favorite retailer’s website.

Know thy merchant. Among best parts of online shopping is conveniently comparing prices to locate a great deal. You may find the gift you need for half the purchase price – but make sure the merchant is dependable and trustworthy. If you haven’t done company with a merchant before, search for online reviews. Employing aggregators like Amazon.com and Yahoo Purchasing is another good way to ensure your merchant doesn’t acquire you for a fraudulent sleigh ride.

Lock down your site. Once you visit a retailer’s website, look for “https” at the start of the URL. This “s” – plus a small gold secure the lower-right corner of your browser – indicates a supplementary level of security for the online shopping.

Log out. Always logout securely when leaving a website.

Check if your payment specifics are stored. Some online purchasing sites ask if you want to store your payment details for future purchases. It’s always 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 to know how much you may be charged for shipping, and if you can find any taxes or fees that’ll be added to your online purchase. These ‘extras’ can add up quickly, so be sure you include them when comparison looking. Many retailers offer free shipping around the holidays, among others allow free in-store pick-up of your online purchases – easy ways to add extra cost savings to your holiday shopping.

Know the Return Policy. Read the merchant’s return policy before making your purchase. Among the downsides of online shopping may be the inability to ‘try it on’ or start to see the item before purchasing, so ensure that your merchant offers you an easy way to return/refund your purchase whether it’s not what you expected.

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