If you’ve ever shopped online, you probably already know why it’s so great – with the discounts you can get, incredible deals to take advantage of and so many different sellers to choose from, you surely can appreciate just how beneficial it can be to shop online.
But at the same time, online shopping exposes you to risks that sometimes might not even exist while shopping in stores, so you have to be prepared if you don’t want to end up losing money or, even worse, giving away personal information while shopping online.
There are many places that run an honest business, but some of them are just looking for a quick buck that comes out of your pocket – those are the ones you have to watch out for.
Luckily, if you know what dangers to avoid, shopping online can be a safe experience. These are few of the main things to remember if you want to keep your money safe.
- Protect Your Identity – Watch Out for Phishing
In today’s world, it’s more crucial than ever to be very careful of with whom you share your personal information with – never has it been so easy to take advantage of a person’s identity to steal your hard earned money.
Always try and give away as little information as possible – especially info like your birth date or social security number. This is info that a company shouldn’t need and if requested is a clear sign that it might be used to steal your identity.
Also, be careful not to give away your credit card information to anyone – only use it when buying from trusted sellers and through websites that have a security encryption, which can be recognized by the letters “https” at the beginning of the websites’ address.
- Avoid Public Internet Connections
It is highly recommended that you complete your purchases only when you are using a secure and private internet connection. That means that you should never use Wi-Fi for making purchases – you can add things to your cart and save it for later, this way you just have to complete the order when you get home.
It’s really easy even for a novice hacker to get your personal details if you buy through an unprotected interned connection.
- Be Careful With Emails Offering Amazing Deals
Be very careful when opening emails that offer amazing deals that can sometimes even seem too good to be true. These kind of promotional emails are often used by hackers to infect your computer with malware and to steal your personal information.
Even if the email is from a company you trust, you should still be very hesitant to open it – you might be surprised just how easy it is to fake an email from a company.
Of course, not all promotions are bad, so if you subscribed to receive offers from a company, you can probably open the email safely.
- Go Mobile!
More and more people are starting to use phones for their online shopping – it’s easy, convenient and you can do it just about anywhere.
The good thing with it is that it can be a lot safer to do so – by simply downloading apps from sites like Amazon, Target and etc. you can be sure that your information will be safe from any third parties.
- Remember: It’s Your Money
This one’s more of a psychological risk than an external one, but it can be just as harmful to your wallet as anything else.
When shopping online, there is a phenomenon called shopping blindness that can cause you to lose track of your purchases, because you’re buying with your credit card.
Don’t let yourself fall into this trap – always keep track of what you buy and how much are you spending for it, otherwise you’ll end up with lots of stuff you don’t really need and spend way more than you should have.
Internet is a huge market offering great benefits when choosing to shop online, and millions of people use it every day to buy almost everything you can think of.
However, since it’s such a big market, there are people who want to tap into it using illegal methods – this is always going to be the reality. Still, even though there are risks, every one of them can be avoided if you just know how to recognize when something’s fishy.
So, if you follow these simple tips, you’ll be able to steer clear of the dangers and only experience the good side of online shopping.
Michelle Forsyth is a self-employed writer and blogger with a BA from Melbourne University. When Michelle is not writing or blogging she spends time with her two kids and spends time online shopping for the best deals!