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Ultimate guide on how to Shop Safely Online – 8 simple steps

Learn how to shop safely, Don’t let your fears get in the way of shopping online! Take a few minutes and read the below to learn how to protect your self!

1. Always shop online and place orders from a secure connection

If your computer isn’t protected from potentially malicious software, your financial information and passwords are at risk from being stolen (and everything else you store on your computer or do online). This concept is so basic, yet only a fraction of the U.S. population adequately protects their computers. Use a secure connection – make sure your computer’s firewall is on.

If you’re shopping online while using a wireless network, it needs to be encrypted so someone who is lurking outside the house can’t collect your information. Avoid making any financial transactions when using a public network, as you may not know if it’s compromised.

2. How to know the merchant and their reputation

If you already know the store, shopping their online store is very safe. You can always walk into the local store for help if there’s a problem, and if you know others who have had consistently positive experiences with the online store, you can be reassured of the site’s quality.

If you don’t know the store, it may still be the best bet; you just need to take a few more precautions. Conduct your own background check by looking at sites dedicated to reviewing e-stores. If the store isn’t reviewed or does not have favorable reviews, don’t order from their website.

3. If you are buying a Gift Card online, read the Terms and Conditions

If the gift card is for someone else, be sure the store is legitimate, that the person uses the store, and that there are no hoops they will have to jump through.

4. Don’t use a shop that requires more information than necessary to make the sale.

Expect to provide some method of payment, shipping address, telephone number, and email address, but if the merchant requests other information, walk away. You never want to give them your bank account information, social security information, or driver’s license number.

Some companies ask questions about your interests, but these should always be optional and you should be cautious about providing the information. Does the merchant resell, rent, or share your information? Check the site’s privacy policy to understand how exposed your information may become. Many stores clearly state that they do not share, sell or rent consumer’s information – others say they own your info and can use it (or abuse it) however they choose. Stick to the companies that respect your privacy.

5. Need to create a password for the online shop? – make it unique.

You will often be asked to create an account with a password when you make a purchase. Usually, you can choose not to do this, and unless you will use the e-store frequently, don’t create an account. If you do want an account, make sure to use a unique and strong password.

6. How to know if the online shop is secure?

Before entering any personal or credit card info onto a shopping site look to see if the web address on the page begins with “https:”, not “http:” That little ’s’ tells you the website is secure and encrypted to protect your information.

7. Always check the online shop’s shipping terms.

Some merchant’s charge exorbitant shipping fees that can turn a shopping bargain into an expensive mistake. Look to see if they provide tracking and insurance. Understand what carriers they use, and be particularly cautious if the item won’t be shipped within 10 days.

8. Shop safely by using a reliable internet security program.

The best way to stay safe online is still by using an effective internet security product. Shopping is no exception. Rather, with the increasing volume of goods and data being exchanged online, security features like real-time anti-phishing and identity theft protection are more important than ever.

Let the online shopping begin…

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