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How to Shop Online Like a Pro

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Shopping online is become more and more popular, especially when you’re looking for something not found in the immediate area. What would you do, drive to the nearest city that has the store or product you are looking for or just sit at your PC and order it online? Yet, as with anything done online, there is an apprehension that comes with not being able to deal with another person face to face. What if you get scammed?  What if your ATM pin gets stolen and used by someone else? Well, there are a lot of ways to be safe when shopping online. Here are a few:

  • First of all, you will have to pick the right retailer. There are a lot of reputable companies that sell online, such as Amazon.com, and a lot of retailers in different industries from food to clothing to electronics offer and opt to sell their product online. It is better that you go with the more official sites, and their smaller licensed distributors to ensure the safety of your transaction, money and sensitive information. With the smaller retailers, you will have to look up their credentials, their contact details that include email, P.O box, and business phone number for customer assistance purposes and how they are connected to the main distributor.
  • Once you have found your store, it is a good idea to do a little research on it. Read the customer reviews on the services and products offered by the online retailer to find out more about the delivery times, product tracking, cancellation, return and refund policies, warranties, and customer support, to give yourself a better idea on whom you are dealing with. Again, it is better to prioritize sites or retailers with dedicated phone lines or an email address for customer support issues. Another thing to look as is how the retailer will bill you, which includes the modes of payments they accept, and if they will charge you for the shipping or for possible returns.
  • The last thing to check that is often overlooked is the companies’ privacy policy. Some companies will use your information to email tailor made adds to you or forward it to other retailers as well. This is a way to avoid receiving spam and to keep the purchase of sensitive of private items private.
  • Once all of those issues have been addressed to your satisfaction and you are ready to make purchases, you will also have to make sure that your transactions are safe as well. When making online payments, make sure they are from a secure site. A way to find out if the payment page on the site is secure is to look for small symbols such as a locked padlock or a key on the page. Another way is to see if the page itself informs you that the site is secure. You can also check the beginning of your URL at the top of the page to see whether the address begins with an “https” rather than an “http”. The “s” is an indication that the site is secure. Before actually doing business with an online retailer, you can also install a phishing filter to warn you whenever you enter a suspect website.
  • When you are making the actual transaction, take care to enter the correct information and take a screenshot of the various transaction and confirmation pages for documentation purposes and as a form of insurance.
  • Lastly, beware of email scams. Avoid anything that asks for your personal information because legit sites will never ask for your login, password or credit card details. Delete suspicious emails immediately. Don’t open them or click on any links they contain.

If you are new to purchasing things online, you could start small, by purchasing small and cheap products, to test the service of the retailer and see how well it goes.