How to Shop Online Safely

Written By: Natalie Aranda

Online shopping has now become very popular. Besides vast information at your fingertips to help you learn more about products and services before making a purchase decision, you can compare prices with a few clicks whether you go for comparison shopping for computer hardware, compare prices for sporting goods or compare watches prices to find perfect birthday gifts for your loved ones. As more and more people use the Internet for convenient shopping, con-artists are getting into online world as well. In virtual world, you send money with a click and without physical interaction with a cashier.

Most online shopping sites accept credit cards, and many of them take debit cards and e-check. Some B2B exchange even accept purchase orders. paypal now has over 70 millions of users world-wide, and it’s common for people to conduct transaction purely in emails. Shopping on the Internet is no less safe than shopping in a store or by mail if we follow the same principles of safe offline shopping.

* Shop at Trusted Sites – Shop at the websites of companies that you know and trust is the beginning of safe online shopping. You’ll likely have a happy shopping experience without getting into potential troubles later on.

* Make sure a site is what it claims to be – Some con-artists create websites looking like trusted websites. I receive at least one ebay scam email almost everyday – those who pretend to be ebay or paypal customer service to lure you to give out your username and passwords. Look at the URL carefully and use a secure connection for your payment submission. Secure browser not only encrypts the purchase information you send over the Internet but also authenticate the owner of a website to ensure a site is what it claims to be, not a predator.

* Use payment options which offer protections – If you shop on a authenticated trusted website, online shopping is actually safer than offline shopping since every transaction is tracked and you’ll receive confirmation email too. Both credit card transactions and paypal transactions are protected by the payment service processors or issuers.

* Think twice before giving out private information – Before giving out personal information, ask yourselves whether the information is necessary for a transaction. Trusted websites will usually ask for minimum information that is required to process the order, no more no less.

* Keep records of your online transactions – This is necessary in case you ask for a refund or file a dispute. Keep all your transaction confirmation e-mails in one folder for easy access and make backup copy of important electronic information.

* Review your monthly credit card and bank statements – This is the time to identify any errors or unauthorized purchases and to reconcile your account balance. Review the statement thoroughly, call their customer service promptly and notify your card issuers if you had identified disparity or unauthorized transactions.

Happy online shopping.
About the Author

Natalie Aranda is a freelance writer. She writes about family, relationship, business and travel experience.

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