Man ordering something on a tablet with a credit card

Is Online Shopping Safe?

There are many different ways an individual can be a victim of cyber crime

“The courts let him post ten percent of the bail amount in high hopes of Jerry doing the right thing this time around. He knows full well that any additional criminal activity would violate his bond agreement and significantly affect his loved ones who gave the courts money in exchange for his freedom. Still, even with all of this in mind, Jerry cannot get over the upcoming holiday season and the gullibility of online shoppers that comes with all of the festivities.”

Don’t be Jerry’s next identity theft victim. Use these tips when shopping on the Web.

Stick with companies you know

If you feel comfortable shopping in the brick and mortar store, then it’s safe to say that the corporation’s website is okay. Most mainstream businesses do not want to suffer public embarrassment and a lawsuit at the hands of fraud, which is why they take greater measures to ensure safety. You should, of course, check your bank account to make sure that withdrawals match your receipt. You can, however, rest assured in knowing that there is some protection in the instance of compromise.

Take note of pressure tactics

The average salesperson who is desperate to get a product off his hands will give you an ultimatum. “This is the last day of the sale,” he may say. “It’s either now or never.” When faced with such decision online, you should always opt for “never.” If a product is not available long enough for you to make an informed decision, then you do not need it.

Avoid “free” items
Nine times out of ten something marked as free is pretty expensive. The company may not charge for the first set of beauty products, but it may sign you up for a subscription that deducts $50 from your credit card every month. It is important to read the small print before rendering your financial information online. Avoiding supposedly “free” products altogether is the best way to shun unexpected charges.

Take a look at the privacy policy
You should abandon any business online that requests your financial information but lacks a privacy policy. It is also essential to check for cookies as such Internet trackers monitor your activity online. Periodically changing your password that reveals your bank account information is the best way to keep intruders out of your financial domain.

Understand the retailer’s warranty and return policies
Most manufacturers give customers a limited warranty that guarantees the product for a particular period. Some online retailers add assurances of their own that extend beyond the manufacturer’s promise. It is especially vital to be aware of warranties and return policies when buying online. You need to have an agreement that allows you to send flawed electronics back if they fail to work the first time. Many small businesses online may allow for exchanges, but few have solid return policies. Such is the reason why you should stick with large companies when purchasing fragile items.

Watch out for spoofing
Spoofing is the act of a person or group impersonating a business. You may think that you are at the Macy’s website when the platform is, in fact, a fraud orchestrated by a thief for the sole purpose of stealing your financial information. Spoofing often comes in the form of emails where the sender invites you to click on a hyperlink to go the website. Advertisements may feature enticing sayings like, “One-Day Sale! Don’t Miss Out!” to get you hooked. You may think, “I can’t let this deal pass.” You could not be further from the truth.

You should always approach unsolicited emails with caution and take note of typographical errors within the message. Established corporations have a creative team that spends hours writing and proofing copy. They would never send you something with major spelling and grammatical issues.

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