Three Keys to Safely Shopping Online

We have all heard horror stories about unscrupulous people who are looking to steal your money or your identity when you are shopping online. However, there is no reason to panic and totally avoid the websites of reputable online merchant sites when you are looking to make a purchase big or small. After all, avoiding these sites would cause you to lose scores of benefits to consumers. Just keep in mind these three tips, and you will be able to shop online with a clear and safe conscience.

Only Give Payment Information to Encrypted Checkouts

This should be a no-brainer in today’s world, but people still make this mistake. If you purchase anything from a site you are unfamiliar with, always make sure that the checkout area is encrypted. This means that the information moving from your computer and the checkout is encrypted and cannot be read by a hacker (or anyone else, for that matter). Whether you are buying a washer at Sears or using promo codes from Kohls, Or browsing online for coupons to use like promo codes from Kohls, you know you are safe because companies like that invest large sums of money on their respective security systems. You can also check for the padlock icon on your screen and whether the web address begins with “https” rather than “http.”

Use Good Computer Safety Programs

If you haven’t already, you should install anti-malware software. There are many sophisticated hackers who launch viruses that are designed to infiltrate your computer and return all of your vital information to others. Avoiding these attacks is easy when you use the powerful weapons of anti-spyware and virus protection. Make sure you keep these programs current and follow their recommendations so that your computer, and more importantly, your financial information and passwords are kept safe. That means, you can shop online without fear of having your credit card information stolen. You can find free and paid anti-virus software online.

How You Pay Is Important

When you are given a choice at the checkout for how you are going to pay, always go with the option of paying by credit card over using your debit card. Criminals can do much less damage with a credit card than a debit card – there are spending limits on credit cards and more avenues to recoup your losses. However, if money from your debit card was stolen, there may be limits to how much your bank can help, plus it may take some time before your money is returned to your account. So, stick with a credit card with a relatively low spending limit when you are shopping online.

There are plenty of stories of people who lost more than just the product they were trying to buy when they shopped online. But that’s rarely the case. Make sure the site you’re on his a good security system in check when it comes time to buying their products or services. Stay vigilant by installing anti-virus software. And opt for credit cards instead of your debit card. Shopping online isn’t that different from shopping at your favorite store – you still have to be smart about it.

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