It can be tough to avoid shopping online; it’s convenient, fast, and makes it much easier to ensure you get what you want. Up to 83% of people complete their holiday shopping online every year.
Online shopping is easy and convenient, that is, until something goes wrong, and your card information gets stolen, your packages don’t arrive, or you’re led to a website that’s bogus. To make sure the experience is simple and safe for you, follow these tips for safe online shopping:
Only Shop on Websites You’re Familiar With
Make sure you’re conducting your shopping on websites you know you can trust. A lot of people are duped into making a purchase from a company that doesn’t actually exist, which is something that shopping in-store obviously prevents. Some businesses are created online that are fake, and all that ends up happening is thieves getting your card number and other private information. To be safe, shop online with businesses you know for sure exist in real life, and from which you’ve made purchases before like this website.
Conduct Research on Businesses You’re Not Familiar With
Maybe your friend made a great purchase online, and they’ve recommended the website for you. Before you buy something yourself, conduct research about the business. Do they have any social media you can check out–a Facebook page, or a Twitter account? Where are customer reviews, and what do they say? Do they have legit contact information such as an email and phone numbers listed? A legitimate business will have mixed reviews (beware reviews that are constantly glowing and too good to be true), a phone number you can easily call, and a social media presence.
Don’t Fall for Low Prices
While certain events such as Cyber Monday and Black Friday are great traditions where you can score cheap gifts, a business that has offers that seem too good to be true and which is all about providing you with great merchandise for a cheap price might be after more than your money. If it seems unbelievable that you’re getting electronics or brand name clothing for cheap, it’s probably not legitimate. Again, conduct research and see what other people are saying, to check to see if the company is legitimate.
Don’t Shop Using Public Wi-Fi
While it’s nice to shop online as you’re hanging out at a coffee shop or out with your friends, the Wi-Fi you can access at the coffee shop or the mall can be used by anyone. Public wi-fi is well known to be easily hacked, and you never know who could be monitoring the data that’s given and received on public, free Wi-Fi. Don’t sign in to your bank accounts when you’re in public or make purchases that ask for credit card information; wait until you get home and you’re back on a private network.
Check Your Bank Statements
An easy way to catch any fraud that occurs is to make sure that there aren’t any purchases that show up on your statement which you didn’t make. After you shop online, watch your statement carefully, and if anything seems wrong, contact your bank immediately.