Online shopping is easy, fun, and convenient. But if you don’t keep your guard up, you may fall victim to a scam.
Use the following 10 online shopping safety tips to browse and buy without fear of scams.
1. Don’t Shop on Public Wi-Fi
The first rule to safe online shopping is never to use an internet connection that’s not secure. It may feel tempting to browse online at the coffee shop, but free public Wi-Fi attracts hackers. If you have no choice, use a virtual private network (VPN) to protect your activity.
2. Never Click Links
If you receive an email, text, or another type of online message asking you to click a link, don’t. More often than not, this is a phishing attempt. You can hover over the link to see if it is real before clicking.
3. Look for the “S” in HTTPS
If you are on a site and don’t see an “S” after “HTTP” in the URL field, watch out. The “S” stands for secure, and any site without it won’t protect your payment information. Looking for the “S” will help you identify safe websites to shop online at.
4. Shop With Authorized Retailers
If you’re shopping online, make sure you buy products from an authorized retailer. You can find this type of information in the “About Us” section on most sites. An online mall may also list manufacturer warranties on their product pages, which is a sign they are authorized.
5. Avoid Deals Too Good to Be True
Have you ever seen a deal too good to be true online? The sad news is it probably is too good to be true. Sometimes, these deals entice victims to send money fast before they realize it’s a scam, so watch out.
6. Read Product Reviews First
If you are considering a product from a particular seller, search for product reviews before buying. If you’re lucky, other users will verify their experiences with the seller. If a product has no reviews, it’s best to proceed cautiously.
7. Choose Secure Payment Methods
Consider how you pay before buying anything online. If possible, use a secure form of payment, like Paypal, whenever available. Stay away from wiring money, and use a credit card rather than your debit card.
8. Keep Track of Receipts
You should always store your online shopping confirmation emails and order numbers somewhere safe. Keep track of when you bought something and when you should receive it in case something goes wrong. You should also check your bank account and statements on a regular basis to look for fraudulent activity.
9. Beware Sites Asking for Sensitive Information
If a site requires you to provide more information than usual, be wary. Buying an item online usually needs your shipping information, your payment information, and a way to contact you. Never do business with a site that pressures you to give them sensitive data, like your social security number.
10. File a Complaint If You Are a Victim
If you suspect fraudulent activity, cancel your payment method and contact the company about the charge. You can also file a complaint with the United States Federal Trade Commission in case of identity theft. By reporting the company, you can save others from falling victim to the same crime.
Use These Tips for Better Online Shopping Safety
By keeping these online shopping safety tips in mind, you can avoid falling for scams on the internet. Don’t let the fear of fraud and malicious actors stop you from enjoying the convenience of online shopping.
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