With Halloween over, we inevitably go into the gear up period to Christmas. You might say that it’s too early, but my bet is that many of you are already starting to compile your shopping list. Thankfully, with online shopping now taking over, gathering all your Christmas gifts is easier than ever. Of course, that ease comes at a price as there is an increased risk of falling victim to online theft. However, that’s no reason to avoid online shopping, as your personal information can remain perfectly secure so long as you shop safe and smart. Here are a few tips for safe online shopping.
Choose the right websites.
So many websites now offer the online purchase options, but not all of them offer the same safety. When you’re searching for a specific item online and finally find it, your excitement can cause you to make rushed decisions. But before you click that purchase order, do some investigating into the website. As always, look for that all important key symbol next to the address in the search bar. This indicates the site is secure and your personal information is safe. If it is not a well-known site like Amazon, do a little research. Specifically, look for comments and reviews from others who has purchased through the site to gauge the average level of consumer satisfaction.
Pay attention to the information you’re giving.
Putting in your credit card information online is always a little scary, but if you’ve taken the proper steps in vetting the website you’re using then you should have nothing to worry about. However, it’s when websites start asking for a little more information than usual that you should start to become suspicious. Some sites, under the guise of collecting the proper personal information, may even ask for your social security number. That’s a big red flag as that’s something that should never be given online. Even if you think you trust the site, when information like that is asked for, you should step away.
Use multiple passwords.
It’s understandable, passwords are not easy to remember and having multiple passwords makes it harder to keep them all straight. But using the same password for all your online shopping makes it very easy for anyone who happens to get a hold of your computer to go on a major shopping spree on your dime. In related business, don’t have websites remember your password. It only takes a few seconds to type it in each time you visit the site and it helps keep your information and money safe.
Look for realistic deals.
If it’s too good to be true that it probably is. That’s the somewhat pessimistic attitude you’ll need to adopt while online shopping. Because you don’t have the luxury of seeing the item in person, you need to be more skeptical about what it is you’re buying. Again, user comments are a great indicator of other people’s satisfaction with the product. Failing that, the price should give you some idea. If you’re paying much less than you anticipated, you should be prepared for the quality to be much worse than anticipated.
Keep it confined to your home.
Not to start sounding paranoid, but online shopping is certainly something that should only be done from the safety of your own home. With wi-fi available in so many locations these days, it can be tempting to get a little shopping done while you’re out and about. Unfortunately, that’s putting your information a great risk for others to steal it, whether through observing you as you shop, or through the unsecure public wi-fi.
Check your statement.
As always, regular and thorough checking of your bank statements is a great way to stay on top of any irregularities. After each online shopping spree, be sure to check those statements to make sure the charges are correct and your money is going to the right place.