Online shopping is convenient, easy, and can save you time and money. But just as you have to worry about a thief grabbing your purse, you also need to protect yourself when you shop online.
As we approach the holidays, they have offered the following tips to help keep you safe when shopping online:
Look for the “S” for Security: Make sure the sites you are shopping from are secure by checking to see that the page that asks for your credit card information has a “https” address in the URL. The “s” ensures security. Also, look for the padlock symbol and research shopping sites at locations such as shopzilla.com and pricegrabber.com.
Stay Current on Security Software: Make sure you have the latest virus protection software updates from your provider before you start your holiday shopping.
Think Before You Link: Employ a URL scanning tool to ensure you’re not clicking on links that lead to infected websites. Free tool here: http://free.avg.com/us-en/download-avg-anti-virus-free-edition
Keep Your Private Information Private: Make sure you keep your personal information private. Create a separate e-mail account just for shopping and use a unique password. Keep records of your online shopping by printing confirmation pages and e-mail confirmations.
Mix Up Your Passwords: Each e-mail, bank, credit card account should have a unique password. Write them down and store them in a secure location.
In addition to their advice, I’d like to add a few more online shopping tips that can protect you from a bad shopping experience:
Check the return polices before you buy. You should know if you’ll have to pay return shipping or re-stocking fees.
Check the website for detailed company information. If you have a problem with your order can you call them, write them, and e-mail them?
If an offer seems to good to be true, it might be. Do a search for the company online and check out Twitter and Facebook to see what the company’s online reputation is.
Online shopping is a wonderful way to shop. You just need to be careful. For more information, check out Shop.org.