How To Shop Safely Online
The danger of online shopping mainly centers on the fact that buyers and sellers are shielded from direct view. The relative anonymity of the Internet creates a potentially dubious marketplace, where fraud is common and a healthy wariness is advised.
That being said, the Internet provides to users a marketplace of unbounded access. The Internet is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and inventory is essentially infinite. There are great bargains to be found when shopping online, and the convenience is unparalleled.
Below are a few tips aimed at helping online shoppers gain the benefits of the “World Wide Shopping Mall,” while avoiding the pitfalls that can lead to falling prey to scams and fraud. Learn how to shop safely online, and be happy with your purchases knowing your privacy is secure.
If an online merchant has established their site as a secure and encrypted site, a small padlock will appear on the window frame of your browser. If there is a padlock icon that appears on the site itself, rather than on the bottom frame of your browser, this does not signify that the site is secure; rather, it could be simply a copied illustration attempting to convince a user that the site is secure without any real evidence. If you are not sure a site is secure, do not enter your credit card information.
As an extra precaution, a service like Paypal can provide additional security. When you sign up for a Paypal account (www.PayPal.com) you acquire protection from fraudulent charges because the PayPal service eliminates the need to display your credit card to an online merchant.
Research Your Merchant
To counteract the nebulous nature of online shopping, research your merchant. Search engines like Google are good places to start: Google the merchant’s name or company name (in quotation marks for greater efficiency) and check out what has been said about them. Use this important step in learning how to shop safely online.
If you are participating in an online auction like eBay, check out the user feedback on any given merchant, and see what their standing is on that site. Most sites will provide a grading system reflecting a merchant’s selling history, which will help determine whether a customer should trust them with their purchase.
Check Seller Policy
If you are buying from a website, check out the site’s Privacy and Return policies. Make sure you know what the online store’s policy is on protecting your personal information, as well as what its process is for returns.
For more information on how to shop safely online and guarding your finances and personal information while navigating the World Wide Web, visit ReputationDefender.