Online shopping is quick and convenient. After all, if you’ve got jimmy jazz coupons burning a hole in your pocket, you don’t want to have to wait to buy the latest hot fashions. However, one thing shopping online isn’t always, is safe. There are plenty of ways to be parted with your hard earned if you’re not careful. The good news is there are easy, common sense precautions you can take that won’t slow you down.
- Be URL smart. Because scam sites can look almost exactly like the real deal, never click on any links to get to where you want to shop. Instead, type in the URL in your browser’s address bar. Also check to make sure there is an “s” after the “http.” That means any information you’re sending is being transmitted securely.
- Avoid Wi-Fi. Speaking of secure transmissions, if you want to keep your information secure, don’t send it over Wi-Fi. Public Wi-Fi is especially vulnerable as are smart phones. You’re much better off using a computer with a secure router as well as a firewall and anti-spyware software. If you must shop by phone, use a landline.
- Don’t overshare. Hillary Mendelsohn, author of, “thepurplebook” shopping guides, says there are only four things an online retailer should ever ask you for: the credit card number, the expiration date, the three-digit code on the back of the card and possibly a shipping address. Never give out information such as your Social Security number or even just the last four digits.
- Only use credit cards, not debit cards. When you use a debit card, that money comes out of your checking account and is instantly gone when you make a purchase. A credit card is protected from fraud under law and you’re not immediately out any money if something should go wrong.
Following these tips will go a long way toward keeping you – and your money – safe.