10 tips to help you shop more safely and securely online
If you haven't began already, now is the time to start placing those on-line orders for the holiday season...Before I get to my 2011 favorites in my next blog post (Stay tuned this week!), I have a few tips for those who are still a bit leery of on-line shopping.
On-line shopping is a fantastic way to shop without the hassle of crowds and tiring evenings beating though the malls searching for those special gifts. Often times stores are sold out of items so you end up driving about wasting fuel and precious time - Nothing more frustrating.
I've been on-line shopping for many years and have found it to be the most convenient way to buy the things I want....Place my order and wait for it to arrive - Can't get easier than that.
So here are a few tips on how to be as safe as you can be...
1) Many stores have a phone number. If you are completely uncomfortable using your credit card on-line then simply browse the on-line store of choice, add the items to your cart and when you are happy with your cart contents, with your computer at hand, call the store and place the order over the phone.
2) If you haven't already done so, apply for a low-limit credit card for on-line use only. This will allow you to minimize your risk and track all of your on-line purchases on one card.
3) Secure your PC... Your best protection from attacks is to keep your operating system and browsers updated and use a good and up-to-date security program. Clear your browsing data often and if you are unsure of your security you can always download free protection such as AVG or AVAST.
4) Keystroke hackers can record all keystrokes typed so don't type your credit card numbers and passwords out on the internet, type them in a document file then copy and paste them to the store website.
5) Don't use links you are not positive you can trust, oftentimes emails contain links which appear as a website can actually be fakes. Be sure to bookmark links from trusted sites and use your bookmarks.
6) Look for reviews - If you have not shopped at a site before, be sure to look for reviews, Youtube is a fantastic source for store and product reviews.
7) Check the Shipping and Return policies before you spend a bunch of time filling your cart. Be sure you are happy with the shipping rates, any customs, duties & brokerage fees as well as the return policy, if you are unable to find this information be sure to give the company a call beforehand.
8) Make sure to print or electronically save your online transaction pages and confirmation emails. This will help you keep track of all details of your transactions.
9) Look for the Lock -Never purchase anything online using your credit card from a site that doesn't have SSL (secure sockets layer) encryption installed. You'll know if it has it because the URL (address) of the site will start with https:// rather than http://, an icon of a locked padlock will appear generally in the status bar at the bottom of your browser.
10) Use affiliate links from trusted friends and bloggers. Bloggers often sign up to stores affiliate programs to promote products which they have already reviewed and recommend. When you click on an affiliate link you will notice in your address bar a link to the store which also has an affiliate ID attached to the end. This enables the store to track who recommended them and the blogger can then collect a small commission from your sale. Clicking on an affiliate link costs nothing to the consumer yet often helps support stay-at-home bloggers raise a little money.
Following these simple steps should help you have the safest and most pleasant on-line shopping experience.