Millions of people use online shopping sites on a daily basis in the United States. The e-commerce economy is constantly growing and it is expected to continue growing over the next decade. Also, the online marketplace and shopping are becoming more commonplace as businesses are adapting their marketing strategy to accommodate more online sales.
Online shopping is pretty cool, easy, convenient, and has a lot of features like allowing consumers to check product reviews, compare prices, find coupons etc.
However, just as there are lots of advantages in shopping online, there are also disadvantages; this is the reason online shoppers and consumers worry constantly about the security and safety of the information they share when shopping online.
Some of the most common consumer concerns about online shopping include:
- Identity theft
- Online data storage, such as cookies
- The security of information and the possibility of releasing sensitive information such as a home address
- Shipping costs
- Data breaches
- Price inconsistencies
- Important packages getting lost
- No return time
- Returns not being accepted
Here are some helpful tips to help you be more careful and vigilant while shopping online in order to avoid rip-offs and online shopping scams.
Shop with reputable and familiar websites
Many of the online shopping issues listed above can be solved if you stick with the well-known/reputable brands and websites with return and shipping policies you can review before checking out your purchases. Also, you should be wary of sharing your credit card information on untrusted shopping sites to avoid having your information recorded and used to rip you off. To protect your credit card information, you should use a secure payment system or third-party payment system like PayPal, as they conceal your credit card information from retailers.
Use a virtual private network
To avoid your information being stored in your web browser or on websites and accessible to hackers, you should start using a virtual private network, popularly known as VPN on both your computer and your mobiles. A VPN provides Internet security and encryption, allowing you to shop online and share sensitive information securely without compromise. It encrypts and secures your information from untrusted sites and hackers.
Only shop on personal computers and secure sites
Do not ever shop online or make any purchase using a public computer. This is very unsafe and you should never make that mistake. Always shop with your personal computer and ensure that the sites where you enter sensitive personal information are secure. You can know this by identifying the URL; if the URL starts with “https://” it is most likely safe.
Use strong passwords and protect your personal information
Protect your online accounts and information with strong passwords. Avoid passwords that consist of your birthday, 12345 or other predictable types. For your accounts, you should use different and random passwords that you can remember and people can’t guess.
Be wary of online shopping sites that request your social security number or your mother’s maiden name; they could be phishing sites set up by hackers to steal your information. The information required for an online purchase is usually basic stuff like your name, billing address, mailing address, and credit card information. Sometimes, phone number and email address are also needed.
More online shopping security tips
Of all concerns connected with online shopping, security is the most important. Packages getting lost in transit can be frustrating but cannot compare to the problem of having your identity stolen. So, in addition to the above mentioned, here are some more tips to ensure safe online shopping:
- Beware of sites using pop-up ads.
- Check out for “https” in the URL and a padlock or broken key icon, which is an indication that your information is secure.
- The website should clearly state its return policy and shipping costs.
- Use reputable retailer sites and apps.
- The company should have an actual address and phone number.
- Prices should not be too high and not too good to be true. It should be reasonable.
- You should be able to use a credit card with fraud protection.
Happy and safe shopping!
Featured photo credit: Avvo Stories via stories.avvo.com