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Tips for Shopping Online Safely

Shopping online is a growing trend, with an increasing number of people preferring to buy online because of the convenience it offers. Other benefits include the best prices, greater variety, and home delivery. However, when planning to shop online, certain factors need consideration to ensure you have a safe shopping experience, such as:

Shop at well-recognized and reputable merchants: If you shop at a recognized brand or store, you can be confident of the site’s security. If you have had friends or relatives that have shopped with them and had a positive experience, you can be assured. You’ll need to do your homework if the store is new. Read their reviews at an independent trade review site and customer reviews before making a transaction.

Use a safe connection: With personal data susceptible to unscrupulous hackers and cybercrime on the rise, you need to ensure you use an encrypted network connection for safety. A surprising number of individuals in the US surprisingly don’t protect their computers adequately. Malicious software or malware steals sensitive personal and financial data, so ensure you have the latest antivirus software and keep the computer’s firewall on at all times. If using a wireless connection, it must be secure and preferably try to avoid conducting financial transactions on a public network. Only shop at a site, e.g. “https://Boots n Bags Heaven” with BNB Heaven with the prefix having ‘s’ at the end of ‘HTTP: //’ – indicative of being secure.

Read the fine print: In the haste to make a purchase, don’t overlook reading the terms and conditions thoroughly. If purchasing a gift card for friends or family, ensure the store is legit, and the individual uses the store without it being a hassle to use.

Don’t fall prey to unbelievable offers: The fact is scammers are a dime a dozen, and always coming up with new and innovative schemes to defraud unsuspecting victims online. If the prices are “too good to be true” bordering on the incredulous, you need to be on guard. If the prices are ridiculously low, then something isn’t quite right. After all, any business markets their products with the objective of making a profit only. If they are selling at less than half the actual price, it could be counterfeit or a bait and switch scam, among a long list of ways to dupe online customers.

Don’t divulge more info than needed: When shopping online, you’ll need to furnish necessary details like payment details, phone number, email-id and shipping details, etc. These are only required for the transaction and nothing more. Don’t deal with any site that pries and asks for more details than what’s necessary. Information about your social security number, bank account information, and driver’s license number isn’t required. Even questions about your shopping preferences should be optional to share. Check the site’s privacy policy to know if any of your information gets shared with third parties at any stage. Transact only with companies that have a strict no-sharing clause in their privacy policy.

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