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Helpful Tips on Protecting your Information when Shopping Online

Helpful Tips on Protecting your Information when Shopping Online

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.

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Some of the most common consumer concerns about online shopping include:

  1. Identity theft
  2. Online data storage, such as cookies
  3. The security of information and the possibility of releasing sensitive information such as a home address
  4. Shipping costs
  5. Data breaches
  6. Price inconsistencies
  7. Important packages getting lost
  8. No return time
  9. 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.

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    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.

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    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.

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      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:

      1. Beware of sites using pop-up ads.
      2. Check out for “https” in the URL and a padlock or broken key icon, which is an indication that your information is secure.
      3. The website should clearly state its return policy and shipping costs.
      4. Use reputable retailer sites and apps.
      5. The company should have an actual address and phone number.
      6. Prices should not be too high and not too good to be true. It should be reasonable.
      7. 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

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      Kyra Taylor

      Writer and Lawyer

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      Last Updated on March 13, 2019

      How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

      How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

      Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

      You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

      Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

      1. Work on the small tasks.

      When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

      Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

      2. Take a break from your work desk.

      Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

      Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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      3. Upgrade yourself

      Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

      The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

      4. Talk to a friend.

      Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

      Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

      5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

      If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

      Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

      Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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      6. Paint a vision to work towards.

      If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

      Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

      Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

      7. Read a book (or blog).

      The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

      Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

      Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

      8. Have a quick nap.

      If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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      9. Remember why you are doing this.

      Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

      What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

      10. Find some competition.

      Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

      Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

      11. Go exercise.

      Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

      Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

      As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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      Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

      12. Take a good break.

      Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

      Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

      Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

      Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

      More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

      Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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