April 26, 2010

Safety Tips for Shopping Online

Shopping online has become so convenient and a great way to find great deals. Unfortunately the virtual world can be detrimental to your banking account. Earlier this year, I made a purchase online. Months down the road, my card had unauthorized charges on it. Thankfully my bank was on top of it! Not Made of Money has six tips to share with us to make shopping online safe.

Six Ways to Make Internet Shopping Safe

Stories abound warning consumers about the perils of shopping on the internet. Internet shoppers have every justification to be concerned about the growing problem of identity theft and having their credit card information compromised. Having your identity stolen can be an expensive and complicated matter to clean up.

Don’t think, though, that you have to give up shopping online, altogether. Although nothing will completely eliminate your risks while shopping on the internet, there are some steps you can take to minimize your exposure to these risks.

  • When shopping online, be sure to look for the website’s security policy. Most internet retailers are aware of their customers’ concerns and will explain exactly how the company protects their customers’ information. Expect to find discussions that indicate that the retailer encrypts customer information and that it’s a secure site.
  • Choose one credit card to pay for your internet purchases. If you have the misfortune of having your credit card information stolen, you’ll only have to cancel your credit card. Never use your debit card online; you don’t want thieves to have access to your checking account.
  • Don’t use public computers to shop on the internet. Some web browsers store your information and could be accessed by someone else with the skills to harvest that information.
  • Never email your credit card information whether you’re sending it to a retailer or a friend. Email servers are usually not as secure as the type of software used to process credit card information.
  • Try to choose well-known retailers when shopping online. The larger retailers will have the experience and capital to invest in their website’s security processes to make sure that they are utilizing the latest in internet security. If you just have to have something you find at a smaller website, consider calling their customer service line and giving them your information via the phone.
  • Using a PayPal account to pay for your internet purchases is a way to add an extra layer of security in your internet purchases. Many of the smaller, less secure, websites will allow you to use PayPal to process your payments to them.

Remember that when shopping on the internet to use your common sense when selecting your retailers. If a website doesn’t feel professional, you should probably trust your instincts and look for your product elsewhere.

We are pleased that Not Made of Money will provide a weekly personal finance article to share with us each week!

Photo Credit KCBBB

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Cook, Baker, Phototaker, Fitness Mover and Shaker, Cupcake Tester, Deal Maker, Adventurous Undertaker, Do Good "Deeder", Teacher, Mom, Wife, Patriot for Life & Giver of Good Advice - RealAdviceGal

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