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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 July 8, 2020

      18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

      18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

      The act of writing in a journal often seems daunting or unnecessary to many people. Even authors who work on novels might shun the idea of daily diaries. What purpose does jotting down words on a regular basis do if not contributing to the next novel, play or song? I know from experience many benefits of journaling that I wish to share.

      1. Understand Yourself Better

      Though many people and even writers avoid keeping journals, I vow to do it more often. Not only do I desire to take up daily journaling but also I plan to do it with pen to paper.

      Some of the benefits I’ve found from my more active days include finding myself in the sense of understanding what matters to me and what I want out of life. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to find a spouse who is my best friend and advocate in raising children. I attribute this and much more to what I learned about myself in keeping journals for years.

      2. Keep Track of Small Changes

      I’ll admit that I never got very far with my guitar lessons, but in writing in a journal, I have seen the ability to track small changes like those that come when you practice anything.

      Those learning a musical instrument often fail to see the small improvements that come with regular practice. Writing won’t help you switch chords any faster, but it will help you to develop a better sense for language and grammar just by doing it.

      3. Become Aware of What Matters

      As you continue to write in a journal, following a stream-of-consciousness feel, you can look back on the topics that you chose to write about. Those issues and emotions that poured out of you will provide insight on to what matters most to you.

      You may not even realize that you’re job is depressing you or that you want to spend more time with your kids until you look over your thoughts that you weren’t really thinking about.

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      4. Boost Creativity

      The idea that the brain and its neural activity across hemispheres encourages learning also shows up in increased creativity. Just like with learning an instrument, your increased activity will inspire your thoughts to connect and reconnect in different ways.

      When I wrote in a journal, I often wrote poetry as well as just my thoughts as they came out. I started to hear poems more in my mind; so much so that I took to scrawling lines on napkins and finding metaphors in mundane activities.

      You really are what you do, so writing helps grow more than being a writer. Writing boosts the way you communicate and structure language, which really is a creative process.

      5. Represents Your Emotions in a Safe Environment

      A journal is as private as it gets. You can lock it in a safe or tuck it under a pillow and no one will accidentally share it on social media or have an opportunity to “leave a comment.”

      Write about your sorrow as much as your happiness and frustration and know that you don’t have to keep your emotions inside your body. You can put them on paper.

      6. Process Life Experiences

      When you take the time to look back over what you’ve written, be it a week or a year later, you will have the distance you need to more objectively interpret your raw feelings.

      Everything from losing a job to losing a loved one can emerge in a new light for a fresh perspective. Figuring out how the benefits of journaling affect your perspective on life will create connection and increase creativity.

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      7. Stress Relief

      In combining the exercise inherent in fine motor coordination that comes from the act of writing with the emotional release of self expression, those who maintain a journal relieve stress.

      Try it out. Go home and write about your day. Write about the traffic. Write about the coffee order the barista got wrong but you didn’t have time to change. See how you can physically purge some of that pent-up stress by putting it on paper.

      8. Provide Direction

      Though journaling is often conducted as an activity without much direction, it often provides direction.

      One of the biggest benefits of journaling is that your chaotic thoughts merge to show a direction in which to head. Asking the right questions is the only way to achieve the best solutions, so look to your journal to find your way toward your next goal.

      9. Solve Problems

      Just as in practicing math problems, we all get better at finding hidden solutions through the act of processing.

      Think of your next goal as X and solve your life problems by reading your journals as word problems. The benefit of journaling here is that you write, explore and process to recognize and then solve problems.

      When life is too in-your-face, you have to step back to see reality. Living in the moment allows us to write in the moment and use that expression to solve problems.

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      10. Find Relief From Fighting

      Solving your problems only comes after time to process, recognize and strategize. Just as in the benefit of journaling where relief comes from the act of writing, relief from fighting comes when you decide to “sit this one out” and communicate one-way.

      Fighting is only productive when the fighters care to communicate and find common ground. When the emotions are as high as the stress levels, writing will function as the best time out.

      11. Find Meaning in Life

      Journaling will show you why you are living, whether you are wallowing in things you wish to change or striving to make the changes. Your life will begin to take on new meaning and your own words will reveal the actions that got you where you are so that you can assess and pave a new path for your future.

      12. Allow Yourself to Focus

      Taking even a small amount of time out of every day will provide you with not only peace of mind but also increased focus. Taking a break to meditate in writing and journaling will sharpen your mental faculties.

      13. Sharpen Your Spirituality

      When we write, we allow all the energy and experiences to flow through us, which often provides further insight into our own spirituality. Even if your parents didn’t raise you to follow a specific religion, your thoughts will start to show you what you believe about the universe and your place in it.

      14. Let the Past Go

      I’ve mentioned a few examples where going back over your writing offers advice and direction, but the simply truth is that writing down our feelings can be the best way to let them go. We can choose to literally throw these pages away when they’re filled with negativity and hate.

      15. Allow Freedom

      Journaling is the perfect way to not only express yourself but to also experience the freedom of being who you are. Your books can stay private or you can publish them. Your freedom stems from your sense of self and your perception of your thoughts.

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      16. Enhance Your Career

      Again, the private act of pen-to-paper processing provides the benefits of journaling mentioned above, but you can also enhance your career when you take similar ideas and categorize, edit and publish them in an online blog.

      Your thoughts will often be personal and express emotions, but another benefit of journaling is uncovering fresh ideas about your work.

      17. Literally Explore Your Dreams

      All the benefits I’ve mentioned explore ideas, thoughts and emotions, which is also what our dreams and nightmares do. Through writing down your dreams from the previous night, you can enhance your creativity as well as connect some of the metaphorical dots from the rest of your journal.

      18. Catalog Your Life for Others

      No one wants to think about dying, but we all die. Leaving a journal will act as a way to reconnect with family and friends left behind. The ideas you wish to keep personal while you process the life you’re living will serve to rekindle and inspire those who loved you through the process.

      We consider our partners our life witnesses, but writing provides a tangible mark on the world.

      Now that you’ve learned all the benefits of journaling, it’s time to start writing a journal:

      Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

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