Online Shopping Got You Nervous? How to Shop Online With Confidence and Security

List: Posted: 12/10/10

Do you want to save time by shopping online line but are still skeptical about online shopping risks? Following secure online shopping tips will help you enjoy online shopping confidently and will diminish your fear so you can enjoy the benefits of online shopping technology.

1. Shopping Risks Are Nothing New

The first thing to understand about online shopping is that shopping risks did not start with the Internet. In the good old days when you were mailing checks, all someone would need to do is steal the envelope while it was in transit and they would have your bank account and routing number. Using a credit card while shopping in person also gives someone (usually an unscrupulous cashier) the opportunity to acquire your credit card number.

However, with more and more financial information being traded through e-commerce, it’s getting much easier to track financial transactions because no information can move from place to place without leaving a “virtual paper trail.” So contrary to the common belief, online shopping can actually be more secure than shopping in person. Some sites such as Ebay or PayPal even offer compensation should you get ripped off by the person or business you are doing business with - which should increase your consumer confidence.

2. Always Follow Safe Online Shopping Rules.

These include 'common sense' online safety rules, such as remembering to log out after making a purchase and immediately shut the browser window. If you are making multiple purchases from separate sites, log out from each site after making your purchase, shut the browser window, and re-open a new window to make your next purchase. This reduces the risk that someone else could use your computer and discover a still-open Buying window, with all your credit card details still active. This is especially important when using a shared computer at work, at the library or a Cybercafe. Even if you use your own laptop, if you use a non-secured (shared) connection such as an Internet hot-spot away from home, it is possible for someone else to tap into your signal and steal your credit card details. This can be prevented by never making purchases using someone else's Internet connection (hotspots), and by making sure you always have a good Security software on your computer which will detect and block incoming connections (hackers). Norton Security Suite is a good one, although a little heavy on system resources. There are many free alternatives if you spend a little time online looking. Make sure to read User reviews first to separate the good from the bad - your identity is at risk here, after all, so if in doubt it's worth paying a few bucks to get good security software for your own peace of mind.

3. When in Doubt, Just Get Out

A good rule of thumb when shopping online is that if you have any doubts about the security of a website, just leave and take your business somewhere else. Credible websites will always have their privacy policies and contact information somewhere that you can see them. Many online shopping merchants also use services like PayPal, which have built in settings to protect the buyer.

4. Get Educated!

Finally, don't ever give out your financial information when online shopping unless you know exactly why you're doing it. This means you purchase things while you’re online shopping and ignore emails which request you to give your information to “confirm” something you didn't purchase. Nigerian scams are commonplace, so if ANY site (even one you recognize, such as PayPal or your bank) sends you an authentic-looking message asking you to email them any personal details such as your name, address, account number etc, IGNORE it and contact the bank directly. These scams usually contain a threat such as saying they will close your 'inactive' account if you don't confirm your details in an attempt to scare you into supplying your details - which they'll then use to try to hack into your bank or email account. Just use common sense - a real bank or payment site would never make threats like this to its customers.

 

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    The material in this article is for informational purposes only. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of Local.com. See Additional Information

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