0 6 min 2 weeks

Shopping online from the convenience of your own home is one of the miracles bestowed upon us by the internet. We can easily buy anything from our weekly groceries to our automobiles with just the click of a mouse. However, with the ease of online shopping come some risks–identity theft, false advertising, and scams to name a few. Keep reading to learn how to reap the rewards of online shopping while protecting yourself and scoring great deals.

When you are shopping online, you should only shop at reputable stores. If the store does not have a good reputation, you may be asking for trouble. Some people have had their credit card and personal information stolen from shopping on less than reputable websites. Be careful and protect your private information.

Avoid shopping on sites that aren’t familiar or have no online user reviews. No matter how much you might want to order their merchandise or how low their prices are, you just don’t know what you’re getting into. Reserve your online shopping dollars for the well-known and trusted sites that keep your info safe.

If you are going to be doing some shopping online, make sure you understand the liability for each credit card you use online. Many credit cards have automatic fraud prevention built in while others offer it for a minimal fee. You do not want to get stuck with purchases made on your card if the number is stolen.

Be careful where you submit your credit card information. When you are shopping online, always use secure sites. These are sites that have taken steps to protect your valuable information. A secured website will begin with HTTPS instead of the standard HTTP. There will also be a locked icon, either in your address or status bar, depending on which browser you use.

When you’re trying to find somewhere to buy something and you can’t find any retailer that is familiar, be careful with your information. Verisign and Cybertrust both verify and authenticate retailers so you know who to trust.

Make sure you read the product page thoroughly before making a purchase. Use the product specifications, especially size and color, to make sure you will receive what you expect. Remember that the photo might not exactly match the item.

Searching is the key to saving money with online shopping. Do a search for whatever it is you want to buy. You can use a traditional search engine like Google, or a shopping-specific engine like Shopping.com so you can more easily see who has the item in stock and what their price is.

Every time you shop online, give your purchases a thorough review before you click “buy”. You want to make sure you chose the right sizes, colors and and amount of the items you want. Be sure that the items in your cart or the items you want.

While Amazon may be charging $29.99 for an item, that doesn’t mean that you should choose eBay if the item is listed for $9.99. Why? It’s all about shipping costs! Amazon may offer free Super Saver shipping, meaning you only pay $29.99 and not a cent more. eBay sellers usually charge for shipping, and that can make the item more expensive there. Always factor in shipping costs when comparing prices.

When setting up any passwords related to online shopping, it is important that you take it seriously. Avoid using phrases that are easy to guess or words that are easy. This information can give people access to credit cards and personal information. Don’t make a crook’s job easier by making your passwords easy to figure out. Make sure you have a number of random passwords containing numbers, letters and symbols.

Online shopping has expanded to the point where you can virtually buy anything online. You can even do your grocery shopping online. Your success and savings with grocery shopping online may vary due to your location and the items you buy but in many instances, you can save money and time and have everything delived, all without ever having to leave home.

Don’t “talk” to anyone that you don’t really know on social media sites, and that includes companies that you have shopped with in the past. Social media sites are vulnerable to hackers, so you never know who is behind the messages you receive. Simply delete messages that are not from real people.

Get an email account that you use for shopping only. Many stores will share email lists with other companies, who then send you their promotional materials as well. You can get a free email account to use specifically just for online shopping.

As you are well aware, shopping online from your home computer or mobile device is highly convenient. You don’t have the hassle of dealing with traffic or lines at the store. However, certain risks come with online shopping. You now know how to avoid these risks and fully enjoy the online shopping experience.