Millions of people every day shop online. You can join the millions of people, even though you might be reluctant to try. Once you get the hang of how easy it is, and how you can protect yourself, you might find you prefer shopping online than any other way. Here are some tips to get you going.
Never try to shop directly from a link someone sent you in an email, unless it’s a widely known and respected site, like Amazon.com. Too many consumers get tricked into scams via hyperlinks in questionable emails. Visit the URL of the site mentioned in the mail, instead of clicking the link itself.
If it is your first time with a retailer make sure to look at the customer reviews first. You can usually use this as a guide as to what you can expect from the merchant’s services or products. If you see a lot of bad reviews, think about shopping with another merchant.
Make it a habit to register for price alerts. This goes even for purchases that you’ve recently made. Price alerts will let you know when a product has dropped to a price you like. And if you’ve recently purchased at full price, you can ask for a price adjustment to meet the new deal.
Be careful where you submit your credit card information. When you are shopping online, always use secure sites. These are sites that have taken steps to protect your valuable information. A secured website will begin with HTTPS instead of the standard HTTP. There will also be a locked icon, either in your address or status bar, depending on which browser you use.
When shopping online, be sure the site you are on begins with “https”. The “S” means that the site is secure, which entails that you can safely enter your personal information without having to worry about identity theft. If a site does not have the “S” in it, you may want to avoid using it.
Sign up for your favorite online stores’ newsletters. Many times online stores will send out daily, weekly or monthly newsletters with special sales, discounts and deals. If you like to save money, you might be able to score some great deals on items you were going to purchase anyway.
Check out the address bar of your browser before you enter your credit card number into a Web form. If you see “https,” you can go ahead, since your data will be securely encrypted. If it does not, then you have to know that you are leaving yourself open to possible fraud in the future as your information is not necessarily being safely stored.
There is certain information that should never be asked for during a shopping transaction, so be careful of what you share. While it is normal to provide name, address and payment information, you should not deal with any retailer that asks you for your bank routing number or your social security number.
If a deal seems too good to be true, it is. Keep in mind that anyone can launch an online store and not all stores all reputable. Do more research on different stores before deciding where you want to purchase your products from. Do not choose a very affordable product if it is sold by a store with a bad reputation.
A lot of sites specialize in comparison shopping. These sites do not directly sell products but provide shoppers with a detailed list of different stores offering an item as well as the prices. You should use this tool to do some comparison shopping before deciding where to purchase the product you need.
No reputable company should ask for or need your social security number simply for shopping purposes. Therefore, make it a practice never to give out your SSN online. If you are making a purchase and you are asked for this number, do not continue. You are probably on a scam site, and you should not complete the transaction.
Most credit cards offer an identify-theft protection program. Therefore, when shopping online, only use your credit card to make purchases. If you ever have a charge show up that you are concerned about, your credit card company will look into the matter for you. Debit cards are much riskier and should be avoided.
If you’re making a purchase from a small retailer, don’t be afraid for discounts. Many shop owners will be happy to shave a little money off the price, especially if it’s something they’ve been trying to sell for a long time. The worst that can happen is that you get told no.
Work with sites you can comparison shop with, like Froggle. That is one of the easiest ways to find the best prices. Having said that, understand that these particular sites cannot possibly provide every single website there is about the product. These websites can be excellent places to begin, but if the prices they provide do not match your expectations, continue searching.
When shopping online for apparel, be sure you check out the site’s return policy. Apparel is one of the hardest things to shop for on the Internet, as you cannot be sure whether or not the item will fit you. Only purchase apparel from a site that has a solid return or exchange policy.
You might be hesitant to start shopping online, but there’s really no reason to be. This is something that more and more people are doing, with good reason. Make sure you try each of the tips to optimize your shopping experience. You may one day decide that you’re only going to shop this way!