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Online Shopping Made Safe

Online Shopping Made Safe

More and more of us shop online. Make sure you know what you’re doing.

By Noah Gamer

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Most retailers embrace online shopping as a way to boost sales and keep customers happy. This is good news for those of us who every now and then — or more often — want to avoid mall madness.

As long you take the right steps to secure your information and learn to trust the right retailers, taking advantage of online shopping and the discounts and deals that often go with it makes good sense. Follow these five tips to stay safe and go for it!

Shop Trusted Retailers

The big-name, go-to retailers earn much of their revenue from online purchases, so it is in their best interest to be up-to-date when it comes to Internet security technology designed to keep your information safe.

Stay with these known entities and never click on links sent to your email. Instead, bookmark the sites you like and then access them from the bookmarks’ bar. Hackers like to spam email to lure people into entering personal information. When you bookmark the sites you know are legitimate, you don’t have to worry about this.

Look for the Trustmark security stamp on trusted sites. This is a padlock icon in the site’s address bar indicating that your information will be transmitted over secure servers through a protected transaction. Not all checkout pages have the icon, which does not mean you can’t use the site, but you can feel safe when you see it.

Do Some Research

Sometimes a deal too good to be true is just that. If you find a product online at one site that is significantly less expensive than at all the others, make sure you’re looking at a legitimate business. Check their reviews, research their location and examine their return policy.

Online retailers should always allow you to return unopened or damaged products (though sometimes at your shipping expense). No questions asked. If they do not, move on to another site.

Update Your Internet Security Software

Taking the time for a few extra security measures could save you a lot of hassle in the long run. Proactive security on your end can be invaluable when you find yourself dealing with a bad link or a site with lower-quality tech support. Needless to say, this is especially important when it comes to credit card information and personal data, so keep your information secure with updated protection.

Create a Secure Payment Profile

When shopping on a third-party site such as EBay or Etsy, utilize PayPal or a similar payment option. In general, these sites have a reputation for being secure and trustworthy with your information.

Still, don’t save your payment information (credit or debit card numbers) on these sites. Doing so is certainly convenient but if the payment site is hacked, your information is at risk. Play it safe and manually enter your payment info each time, despite the inconvenience.

Do Not Use a Public Computer or Wi-Fi Network

It’s not hard for hackers to install software that collects user IDs, PIN numbers and credit or debit card information and so public computers and public Wi-Fi networks cannot be considered secure. For this reason, it’s inadvisable to connect to public Wi-Fi (like in a coffee shop or airport) with a laptop, tablet or smartphone if you plan to shop.

Wait until you are home on your private Wi-Fi before doing anything that requires entering personal information.

The most important thing to keep in mind while shopping online is to keep yourself safe. Sometimes this might be as simple as spending a few more dollars to buy from a trusted vendor, or taking the time to check out a new one.

When that one-of-a-kind item you “absolutely must have” shows up, make sure you’re protected with top-tier Internet security software designed specifically for keeping your information safe.

Click here for more on Internet safety

Noah Gamer is a business leader with experience in Internet marketing, Web software development and ecommerce. Currently, he develops Internet strategies for Trend Micro.

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