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6 Online Shopping Tips You Didn’t Know You Needed

There’s all that buzz about online shopping, especially nowadays. It has risen so much in popularity because it’s the safest way to shop—especially during the pandemic. It’s also very convenient since you wouldn’t even have to leave the comforts of home. In a few clicks, you get what you need delivered straight to your home.

But remember that online shopping isn’t always the best. For you to be able to make the most out of it, it’s very important to learn how to navigate your way through the online shopping world. This doesn’t just mean getting the best deals and shopping at the right time but also staying safe from scams and fraud as well.

That said, whether you’ve only recently discovered the benefits of online shopping or you’ve been a long-time online shopper, here are some tips to ensure a safer and efficient shopping experience:

  1. Double Check New Websites Or Business

Assume you’ve gone through an e-commerce site, or you’ve come across an ad for a website or an app for shopping that offers a good deal. Before even clicking that website or app, double-check it first.

The discounts that you’re going to get won’t be worth it if it means the products are either fake or flimsy, with questionable quality. Worse, you may be falling for a phishing scam that would harvest all your personal and confidential information.

Before you make a purchase or even download that app, research more about it first. Check through the feedback and reviews regarding product quality and whether or not it’s generally safe.

This tip applies when you’re also going through gift cards for sites that you aren’t familiar with. Be sure to research as much as you can and go through all the necessary feedback, like surveys for Amazon gift cards and others, to ensure that you’re purchasing only from trusted sites.

  1. Use Only Familiar Websites

As much as possible, stick only with familiar websites. If you’re new to online shopping, then ask your friends for recommendations where they usually do their shopping online. If there are brands that have that their own apps, then purchase from their official app instead, and not from another seller.

If you don’t know the website or if it looks questionable to you, then chances are, it could be a rip-off. Trust your gut instincts way before you even make a big purchase.

  1. Don’t Browse On Public Wi-Fi

Yes, you need to hear this tip louder. Even if it seems like a redundant and obvious reminder, its importance just can’t be underscored enough. As much as you can, don’t connect to public Wi-Fi networks. This includes anything from the public free Wi-Fi connections, coffee shops, and mall Wi-Fi networks, among others.

Especially if you’re planning to make a purchase or key in confidential information, wait until you get home and use your own Wi-Fi broadband plan instead. You can also use your phone’s cellular data plan. As tempting as it might be to connect to that coffee shop’s Wi-Fi and go on an online shopping spree with your friends, just finish your cup and shop when you’re at home instead. Better yet, give your friends a heads up so they will also understand the risks of connecting to public networks.

  1. Look For The Lock Symbol

Ever noticed how legitimate sites, when they drive you to their payment channels, usually have a padlock symbol beside the website domain on the browser? It’s there for a reason, and you may just not have paid close enough attention to it.

That padlock is there to tell you that the website you’re browsing is secure. So, if it isn’t there, then don’t make that purchase. It’s what’s known as the SSL or secure sockets layer encryption. If the website you’re browsing doesn’t have that, then better make your purchase elsewhere.

  1. Pick A Strong Password

Like the other tips on this list, this one also can’t be emphasized enough. Pick a strong password, and make it difficult for anyone (apart from yourself) to remember! Don’t be like others who keep a basic password, just so they don’t forget what it is. A password is supposed to protect your online shopping accounts and if your password is weak, you’re not just risking your personal data, but your credit card information as well!

Here are some very important tips you have to apply when picking a password:

  • Never reuse passwords across different websites.
  • Use a complex mix of lower and uppercase letters, and even numbers.
  • Avoid dictionary words that can easily be associated with your hobbies and passions.
  • Avoid any personal information that can be directly linked to you like your birthday, your kids’ and spouses’ birthday, and your pet’s name, among others.
  1. Check Your Bank Statements Regularly

Do you actually take that extra prudent step of checking your bank statements regularly, as a part of managing your finances? Don’t wait until it gets sent to you. As much as you can, check your bank statements right after making a huge transaction. You can already do this online. In doing so, you can be sure that the online stores you’ve just shopped from are billing you the right amount. 

Just remember this general rule: the more you shop online, the more that you’re actually inviting scammers to get hold of your personal information. So, if this has become your habit, then you’ll need to be a few steps ahead of scammers whenever you can. Plus, if there are any false charges, you can submit a dispute right away and the bank can easily cancel the transaction since it was just done within the day. 

Conclusion

As long as you’re cautious about your shopping habits and you stay on the safe side, online shopping can be an overall fun and enjoyable experience. Plus, you surely can’t say no to the convenience that it brings. However, take extra caution by applying the tips above. While retail therapy is great, it is even better if done safely and securely.

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About the Author

Sandy Beck

Sandy Beck is CouponAnnie's consumer savings expert. Her work has been featured by Consumer Reports, The New York Times, Savings Hub, and MarketWatch. Sandy enjoys shopping and she is an extreme couponing expert.