Online Shopping Safely and Effectively

No one loves online shopping as much as I do. It's fun, easy, and you can often find amazing deals you'd never find anywhere else. But when all is said and done, online shopping can be a dangerous proposition. If you aren't familiar with the internet, you can easily wind up giving your personal information to a crook and losing a lot more than you bargained for.

Don't let that scare you off, though: online shopping safe and effective tips will keep your information safe and your pocketbook loaded.

Safe online shopping

Here are some ideas and thoughts that will help you find the best online shopping sites and maintain your safety and privacy.

1. Be suspicious. No company needs your social security number or bank account number to process a transaction. If they're asking for unnecessary information and there's no option to leave that field blank, this is not a store you should shop with.

2. Look for privacy policies and labels from the BBBonline. These let you know how the company uses your information. They might not be stealing from you, but if they turn around and sell your address to every marketer around, they might as well be.

3. Use an online payment service such as PayPal. PayPal collects your financial information and safely stores it. That way if you make a transaction with a merchant, they never see your financial information: it all goes through PayPal, which doesn't cost the consumer (i.e., you) a cent. Some online stores don't accept PayPal. That doesn't mean they're unsafe, but if you have a choice, PayPal is a good method to use.

4. If something looks suspicious, don't make assumptions. Deals that seem too good to be true usually are, even on the Internet. Safe online shopping means taking the time to check out who you're buying from. A quick google search usually reveals scams and the like associated with specific stores. The Federal Trade Commission also maintains a website that links to acceptable merchants.

5. Look for contact information and try to make contact. If you're suspicious or just a little worried, email or phone the company and ask for their privacy policy. If you get no response, or just a voicemail that seems to make no sense, this is not a good place to take your online business.

6. Look for widely accepted online stores like Amazon, retail outlets, or even eBay. These sites have been in business for a long time and have a good reputation for online shopping safe and effectively.

As you can see, it all seems complicated -- but it's not, really. Shopping online is like shopping anywhere else. You wouldn't just hand your credit card to a shady guy in an alley who wanted to sell you a television, so don't buy from their Internet equivalents. Take a few minutes to be careful and you'll know you're practicing safe online shopping.

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