Safe Online Shopping: 10 Tips to Avoid Getting Burned

You have to buy gifts for the holidays and you have to purchase them quickly. It is possible to frequently brave the madness of buying at your local mall or kick back at home and buy all your gifts online. Doing your holiday shopping online can be a great way to save time while you find the appropriate gifts at the very best price. You’ll miss the parking lot wars, avoid getting the flu from your fellow consumers, and keep out of pick-pockets’ crosshairs. But though it might be easy and convenient to shop in your pajamas, you still need to take precautions to make certain your electric ‘purse strings’ are safe and secure. Here are some simple strategies for safe online shopping:
Secure your computer. Ensure that your family computer has updated security computer software installed, and run regular system check to help keep hackers’ keylogging viruses away.
ONLY shop from your home. Don’t do your online shopping from the local caf�, the airport or different public places. These open systems are easier targets for identification thieves to hack into your computer. Only shop from your own secured home network.
Click carefully. Your favorite store just sent you a great coupon! But wait! Before you select email links, be sure of where they lead. Fraud emails can look just like the real ones from your own favorite stores, with back links that appear to take one to legitimate sites. But hover on the link and you may visit a different web address – this may be a fake site, designed to gather your credit card info for fraud. Your safest bet is to manually navigate to your favorite retailer’s website.
Know thy merchant. One of best elements of online shopping is very easily comparing prices to locate a great deal. You may find the gift you want for half the purchase price – but make sure the merchant is dependable and trustworthy. If you haven’t done company with a merchant before, search for online reviews. Using aggregators like Amazon.com and Yahoo Store shopping is another good way to make sure your merchant doesn’t consider you for a fraudulent sleigh ride.
Lock down your site. When you visit a retailer’s website, look for “https” at the beginning of the URL. This “s” – plus a small gold lock in the lower-right corner of one’s browser – indicates a supplementary level of security for your online shopping.
Log out. Always logout securely when leaving a website.
Check if your payment information are stored. Some online purchasing sites ask to be able to store your payment details for future purchases. It’s always handy to have your details stored, especially if you use that site often. But, watch out for this on lesser-known websites.
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Compare ‘real’ prices. Make sure you know how much you will end up charged for shipping, and when there are any taxes or fees that’ll be added to your web purchase. These ‘extras’ can add up quickly, so make sure to include them when comparison purchasing. Many retailers offer free transport around the holidays, among others allow free in-store pick-up of your online purchases – easy ways to add extra cost savings to your holiday shopping.
Know the Return Policy. Read the merchant’s return policy before making your purchase. Among the downsides of online shopping is the inability to ‘try it on’ or start to see the item before purchasing, so ensure that your merchant offers you a good way to return/refund your purchase whether it’s not what you expected.

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