Online shopping has become one of the most prominent ways to get your needs. With the cost of living crisis, many people have turned to online solutions to find the best deals and ensure they get what they need without breaking the bank. Online shopping has everything; you can even order your groceries this way in many locations.
With online shopping convenience also comes the need for safety and care. It is important to protect yourself from scams and avoid getting into trouble. While safety is certainly a concern, you are not alone. These seven tips will help set you on the right track so you can always shop online with confidence.
1. Limit Exposure
Some people go from website to website or even just Google, putting their private data into a random link. Limiting exposure and avoiding selling your information to numerous scammers and fraudsters is a much better idea.
A great way to limit exposure is to use these top 10 lists from a reliable source. These lists do a little round-up of the top 10 products in a certain category. You can refer to the list to narrow down the options and even make a purchase. The benefit of these lists is having comparisons right before you, so you don’t have to hop around.
2. The Cheapest Isn’t Always the Best
When you’re scrolling for a product and see “sale” buttons or best-price guarantees, this captures your attention. These badges and banners are designed to draw you in for a purchase. The truth is that just because something is marked as being on sale or looks like a markdown doesn’t mean it is.
Many times, these tactics are used to draw you in. If the cost of living brings you down, you likely need a deal or a bargain. Don’t let yourself be drawn in by these false sales or markdowns. Instead, do your research and find out what is the best buy.
3. Stick to Familiar Territory
You’ve probably seen the Facebook scams for hot items that look like you’re getting the hot item for cheap. Any time there is a super popular item that sells out regularly, this happens. Stanleys are a good example. Suddenly, they became super popular. Just as suddenly, there were ads to get them for $20. Unfortunately, those ads were misleading and were instead scam sites stealing money or sending fakes.
Stick to the familiar websites and locations that you can rely on. Go directly to the source or through a reliable source that uses actual links for the products you’re after.
4. Secure Checkout
Before you put your personal information into a website, you want to be sure it is secure. Any website with online checkout options should be protected. A lock icon generally indicates this, but you can also look for terminology, such as SSL encryption notices. A good rule of thumb is that at checkout, the website URL should be “https.” The “s” at the end is important and refers to security. The locked icon should also be present by the URL.
You probably shouldn’t put payment information on that site if you don’t see any of these indicators.
5. Watch Required Information
To piggyback on security information, there is more to know. If you’re checking out at a retailer and they are asking for extremely personal data, like your social security number, jump ship. The truth is that there is absolutely no reason any retailer should require this information for a typical purchase.
There are only a few exceptions, such as purchasing firearms. The last thing you want to do is provide a scammer with your credit card or payment info AND your social security number. This could get you in big trouble and fast!
6. Strong Password Protection
Are you one of those people that uses the same password for everything? This makes you more susceptible to a breach. If you’re using too simple of a password, or a repetitive password, you open yourself up to major fraud issues.
It’s much better to use strong passwords and make them unique for every login.
7. Shop with Privacy
If you’re shopping online, you should do so with privacy. There are multiple aspects to this too. The first is that you should only complete purchases on private Wi-Fi. Other people could hack your information if you’re on a public internet setup. The other privacy detail is not to whip out your card and enter the details in public. It’s too easy for someone else to capture and use the information.
Small steps make a big difference. Shop online with confidence when you put these safe practices to use!