Online shopping is a quick, convenient way
to buy almost any product you could possibly imagine. While there are some risks shopping
this way, if you know how to identify a secure online store, and how to protect yourself,
you should be able to shop with confidence. To have the best possible experience buying
online, there are a few important things to remember – and it all starts with your computer
at home. Making sure your computer’s operating system
and Internet browser are up to date, and installing some good malware-protection software, is
your first line of defense against viruses, malware, or fraudulent activity. To further protect sensitive information like
credit card numbers, your best bet is to shop from home; avoid using public wifi or public
PCs, like library computers. If you’ve purchased products online before,
you’re probably familiar with some of the larger retailers like Amazon or Ebay. These
sites have become so popular in part because they have earned a good reputation for protecting
their customers’ personal information. With sites like these, there’s less to worry
about in general. However, there may be a time when you find
that the hunt for a rare or specific item has taken you off the beaten path in the online
marketplace. If you find yourself shopping on an unfamiliar
site, make sure to look for https://, and the padlock symbol in the address bar. These
things indicate that the site is SSL encrypted, which means it provides the security necessary
to better protect your personal information. And always be sure to make note of phone numbers
and physical addresses so you know how to make contact in case there’s a problem with
your transaction. It’s also a good idea to do some research
on what you’re buying and who you’re buying from. If you’re tempted to buy something from
an online store you’ve never shopped with before, take a minute to do a quick search
to see if you can find any reviews. No matter what site you’re shopping on,
whenever you log in with an online retailer, you want to make sure your passwords are strong,
long, and different for every site you shop with. This will make it harder for your account
to be hacked, further protecting your privacy. Once you’re ready to purchase something,
there are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to safe payment options. Credit cards
are generally your safest option… …Or you can also use an online payment service
like PayPal or Google Wallet. These services keep your credit card information stored on
a secure server, allowing you to make purchases through them without revealing sensitive information
to retailers. After you’ve made a purchase, print or save
records of the transaction. Keeping a paper trail of your purchase will be valuable in
the event that you have to dispute anything later. Above all else, remember to never send cash
through the mail, use a money wiring service, give out your social security number, or send
your credit card information over email. Legitimate retailers will never ask for this, and if
one does, it’s pretty much a sure-fire indication that you’re about to be scammed. In the end, use your common sense, and trust
your gut. If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. And if anything seems suspicious,
don’t make the purchase.