Online shopping has forever changed the way we buy just about everything. With a few simple clicks, we can order and pay for clothes, electronics, tools, furniture, groceries, and more. Then, before we know it, what we bought is delivered right to our doorsteps. Talk about convenience!
With online shoppings convenience, however, comes the risk of not receiving exactly what we ordered" or, worse, getting scammed by illegitimate websites. To better protect yourself while shopping online, follow these 10 tips from the Better Business Bureau:
Know the advertiser. Some of the best deals are only available online, but be careful. Its easy for a fake website to mimic a famous retailers real one, so make sure youre shopping with a legitimate site. If the site is missing contact information, thats a red flag.
Check a sites security settings. If the site is secure, its web address should start with https:// (with an s) and include a lock icon on the purchase or shopping cart page.
Be a savvy shopper. When shopping online, be sure to take your time and read the fine print before submitting your order. Look for the return policy; although many online orders can be returned for a full refund, others have restocking fees. Some items cant be returned at all, so know before you buy.
Think before you click. Be especially cautious about email solicitations and online ads on social media sites. Many sketchy retailers advertise great deals that dont measure up to the promotional hype.
Beware of too-good-to-be-true deals. Offers on websites and in unsolicited emails may offer free or very low prices on hard-to-find items. There may be hidden costs, or your purchase may sign you up for a monthly charge. Look for and read the fine print.
Beware of phishing. Phishing emails can look like a message from a well-known brand, but clicking on unfamiliar links can place you at risk for malware and/or identity theft. One popular scam claims to be from a package-delivery company with links to tracking information on an order you dont remember making. Dont click!
Shop with a credit card. In case of a fraudulent transaction, a credit card provides additional protections; its easier to dispute charges that you didnt approve. Debit cards, prepaid cards or gift cards dont have the same protections as a credit card.
Keep documentation of your order. Save a copy of the confirmation page or email confirmation until you receive the item and are satisfied. Be sure to know and understand the return policy, and keep this documented with your purchase records.
Keep a clean machine. Install security software on your computer, tablet and smartphone. Check for and install the latest updates, and run virus scans regularly.
Published with permission from RISMedia.