I have been online shopping for years and years now and love it. While some of you have been already been shopping online, some of you are also fairly new to it. Regardless of how long you have been shopping online it is important to remember to be safe.
Online Shopping Safety Tips:
- Shop Trusted Stores
While I love supporting small businesses, sadly, there are a lot of con artists out there on the internet waiting to take advantage of you. If you are new stick with the big stores, like Amazon, that are fairly tried and true. As you get more savvy at online shopping you can start looking at smaller specialty sites.
- Monitor Your Credit/Debit Cards
Try to stick with just one or two cards to use for online shopping and monitor them closely. If you do not recognize a transaction, check your email receipts, and if you still can’t figure it out call your credit/debit card company and ask them about it. If offered by your credit/debit/bank company sign up for emails and/or texts whenever your card is used for even more timely notifications.
- Purchase on Secure Pages
Depending on the browser you use (Edge, Internet Explorer, Chrome, etc.) it will show when you are on a secure page by showing a green icon, lock, etc. in your toolbar. While browsing and adding items to your shopping cart this doesn’t matter so much, but once you go into your shopping cart to complete a purchase this is mega important because it means the site is securing your information (to the best of their ability) and keeps your credit card info safer.
- Watch Shipping Charges and Delivery Time
Most stores you will not see the shipping charges until you are ready to checkout. Be sure to look at the amount they are charging and see if they offer alternatives that are less expensive. If time is a factor make sure you check the estimated delivery date. Many of us are used to super fast shipping these days but not all sites ship quickly. During the holidays it is super important to look for their deadline ordering dates.
- Double Check the Seller
Even if you are shopping on big sites, like Amazon, they do have independent sellers listed as well. Their policies may be different. Take the time to read the terms about shipping, delivery time, returns, etc. before hitting the submit order button.
- Don’t Save Info (if possible)
Many online stores will give you the option of registering or buying as a guest. Even if you do register you are often asked if you want to save your payment info for the future. If it is not a store you plan on purchasing from often do not save your info. Hackers search for customer databases and you leave yourself open to more fraud when you save your info on sites.
- Keep Device Updated
Whether you are using a desktop, laptop, tablet, or smartphone to shop, make sure you have it updated. Many updates are for security reasons and will help you remain safer when shopping online.
- Stay Organized
When online shopping it is easy to forget about purchases at times, especially this time of the year. Create a folder in your inbox to save all the shopping related emails you receive – receipts, order acknowledgements, shipping updates, credit card notices of purchases, etc. I’ve gone back over a year even sometimes to those emails because I needed to claim a warranty issue.
- Be App Cautious
If you are using a tablet or smartphone to shop online be sure the apps you are using are legitimate. Again, start with official apps of trusted stores. There are a lot of hackers that put up apps that, yes they want you to shop because they get a commission, but they also may end up hacking and using/selling your information also that you put in via the app.
- Use Notifications
There are plenty of online stores and shipping companies that offer apps and notifications to know when a shipment is arriving or has been delivered. Take advantage of these to know when packages will be arriving or are on your doorstep to pick up. Ask a friendly neighbor to pick up the packages if need be or even have them delivered to a neighbor who is home all the time. You can also ask your boss if it is okay to have packages delivered to work instead. Another option is to ask to have a signature required – this may mean an extra trip to delivery company to pick up but at least you will know the package is safe.
Do you have any other tips to share about safely shopping online this holiday season, or anytime really, that you would like to share?