Is It Safe To Shop Online?

It has been established that an estimated forty million individuals engage in shopping on the internet on a daily basis. When holidays and other types of special occasions occur, this number drastically increases. In a world where time is limited and the internet opens up access to millions upon millions of storefronts with just a click of a button, it is not at all surprising that so many individuals elect to shop on the internet. While online shopping offers consumers variety, an effective means of comparative shopping that is efficient and convenience, the question is, “Is it safe to shop online?” While there are many digital dangers associated with shopping online, it has been established that if consumers are aware of these dangers and how to protect themselves, they will be able to enjoy a safe online shopping experience.

Know the Merchant

If you are interested in shopping in the virtual marketplace, it is absolutely essential to know the merchant that you are dealing with. This is especially true if you are using a credit card or a debit card to make an online purchase. Naturally, when you shop online and use these types of payment methods, you are expected to provide the card number, the name on the card, the billing zip code, and even the security code of the card. If you provide this to a merchant that is considered to be dishonest, they could actually take this information and make many fraudulent charges before you even realize what has happened. Popular online merchants such as Wal-Mart, Sears, and even Kmart are typically ones that can be trusted, but you should use caution with small retailers.

Website Security

When shopping online, it is absolutely essential to ensure that the website that you shop on is completely secure. This is especially true if you must enter in your credit card information or information associated with your bank account. The easiest way to confirm this is to look for a symbol that resembles a lock. This means that the website that you are on is specially encrypted for your shopping security and safety. If you are not able to locate this particular symbol, you should evaluate the website address. All websites start with “http”. If you are dealing with a secure website that is coded with a special encryption to protect you and your personal information, there will be a “s” after the initial “http”. If you see “https” in the address bar of your browser, it is likely that the merchant that you are interested in buying from is a safe merchant.

Make Certain Your PC Is Secure

If you want to shop online, it is important to ensure that you only do so from a computer that is considered to be secure. You should first ensure that you have an effective spyware protection program running on the machine. This will prevent wandering eyes that want to get your personal information away from the information. Anyone, anywhere throughout the world could potentially tap into your system and literally steal information that you work to protect. It is also important to ensure that you have antivirus and firewall protection programs in place on your computer as well. If you take these measures to protect yourself, you will find that it is not only safe to shop online, but enjoyable as well.

Safety Tips: Is Online Shopping Safe?

Online shopping can be a pretty addictive activity. Studies show 83% of online shoppers end up satisfied with their purchase, and two-thirds of Americans aged 50+ buy their goods online.

But, is online shopping safe?

While online shopping is bigger and more convenient than ever, with a huge collection of goods right at your fingertips, it’s easy to get carried away and miss the bad guys that lurk around. These are the thieves that steal your online and offline identity such as your crucial login details and credit card info without you knowing. Malware also exists to put your online privacy at risk.

It’s pretty clear that online shopping is here to stay, and that we will continue to buy our goods online. As evidenced by the statistics above, online shopping can indeed be a safe activity when done right.

So, how do we know when we are shopping in a safe and secure online store? Here are some online shopping safety tips to always assure you a safe shopping experience.

Be wary of obvious signs of a scam site.

There are some telltale signs of a website out to scam you. These include misspellings of popular and major retail sites like Amazon or ones using a different domain, such as .net instead of .com. If the site has sales and offers that really seem too good to be true, and exhibits other signs as well, it probably is.

Know the difference between HTTP and HTTPS.

A great way to see if a site is secure is to look at your address bar and check to see if there is a lock icon followed by a URL beginning with HTTPS. This means that there is SSL or secure sockets layer encryption installed. It’s not necessary that every page in the website has it, but it does need to be on the page where you give out your credit card information (i.e. the checkout page).

Certain online shops that aren’t here to scam will still have HTTP in the URL but with your checkout page redirected to a secure page. Some will direct you to a trusted off-site page where you will spot both the lock icon and HTTPS in the URL.

Create strong passwords.

Strong passwords make it harder for hackers to get your details. Keep them long and strong with a mix of letters, numbers, symbols and with both uppercase and lowercase included. Just be sure it’s something you will remember too!

Don’t give all your information away.

The more you give away, the easier it will be for thieves to steal your information and thereafter, your identity. Things like your social security number are never needed for online transactions, so it should ring a bell if a site asks for it. You should also be wary of phishing where emails are sent to you asking for your credit card details. Genuine companies will not ask for your personal information via email. Do not reply to these or click on any of the links they provide.

Opt to pay via credit card instead.

The safest method of payment is a credit card. With debit cards, there will be no limit as to how much cyber criminals can steal from your bank. However, if you pay through your credit card, a pre-existing limit is set and you also have the option to seek credit from the company in a scenario like this. Sending cash by mail or wire are other unsafe ways of making payment, as you will not be able to seek compensation in the event of a scam.

Paypal is another good method of payment that offers additional security to the consumer. Your sensitive account information is entrusted to a single company as opposed to several when you use credit cards. However, for its ability to provide you with the strongest protection against fraud, credit cards could prove to be the safer method.

With all these tips to guide you, you can be assured of a safe online shopping experience and reap all the benefits that come with it: fast shipping, delivery, huge selection of products that you want, and all at the comfort of your home (or anywhere else you are using the sites from)!