Online shopping has greatly affected the way consumers shop nowadays. It provides convenience to those who work odd hours or do not have a physical store location near them, while giving companies another outlet to sell their merchandise with additional discounts and incentives.
And when it comes to holiday shopping, you could be completely finished without stepping foot in a shopping mall or department store, or better yet, without even getting out of your pajamas by purchasing online!
While you’re busy scouring the internet in search of the perfect gifts for your friends and family, keep in mind our friendly and safe online shopping tips:
Online shopping can put consumers at risk if the website is not properly protected. When shopping on an e-commerce website, make sure the site has a SSL Certificate. This ensures that your information is safe and secure when being transmitted from browser to server. There will be a padlock icon in the web browser and/or the address bar will turn green to let you know the website is guarded from outside tampering and forgery.
Use Familiar Websites
While searching for the lowest prices on that hot ticket item seems like the best way to get more bang for your buck, you are putting yourself at risk for a potential disaster. Not only could you end up on a site that does not have a SSL Certificate, but you could purchase an item that really doesn’t exist. Using trusted sites such as Amazon.com, or major retail websites like Target.com or HomeDepot.com will ensure that your information is secure and your purchases will arrive just as you ordered them.
Shop at Home
Saying this may seem ridiculous, but use extra caution when using a public computer. Make sure you fully logout of webpages just like you would when checking your email. Hackers and scammers are just waiting for someone to leave an ecommerce site open to steal credit card and other personal information. When using personal laptops or tablets in public WIFI areas be cautious of your surroundings. You never know when someone will look over your shoulder to steal your credit card information while you are typing it in.
Know the Refund Policy
Getting a good deal is great for the wallet, but is it worth the hassle of the product not working and still being stuck with it. Make sure you know the rules before you begin the transaction. Scam websites will lure shoppers in with their outrageously low prices and sell defunct products; however they have a strict no return policy but don’t list it on the site.
Look For the Terms of Service
Similar to the refund policy, most reputable websites will have their terms of service or conditions of use listed on their site for all visitors to read. Chances are if this is not available then the site is a scam. Take a tour of the website before finalizing your purchases, you may find some unclickable links or an unusable live chat feature. Know the site you’re purchasing from, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Remember to look for these features when shopping online this holiday season. Knowing how to avoid scam websites will ensure you have a positive online shopping experience and spend less time standing in line to buy presents.