Why and How to Shop Online Safely

The internet screams! On the advent of social networking, online shopping, MMORPG, outsourcing and other stuff we conventionally do in real life: physically-allowed remotely by the internet, the process of road testing credibility and quality becomes different.

Everything became so accessible nowadays and we cannot be expected to be at pace with it all. Provided the schedules we have are fast-paced, online shopping has been so effective for several reasons and here are but a few:

1. Online Shopping is Convenient

Come on, we do it at the comfort of our homes or practically anywhere! As long as there’s an available internet connection, you can shop. The shops are about like Amazon.com and eBay-not to mention the ongoing and emerging Facebook shops. You would not have to deal with crowds, gas-up or commute just to get to the store.

2. Online Shopping is PracticalForget the hassle of having to allot ample time for shopping. Sites provide photos, virtual tours and lower rates. You pay via a number of options (debit/credit card, online shopping accounts like PayPal) and get your order shipped.

3. Online Shopping is Discreet.

Admit it, there’s stuff you want to buy but are quite embarrassed to do face-to-face. Think sexy lingerie, adult toys and films, etc-these are things that are part of our nature and if you have projected a “conservative personality,” you couldn’t just walk into a store letting such items dangle in your hand to the cashier. Through the power of online shopping, you can just click-click-fill-out-click-click then voila, wait for your item.

Now, the question that lingers on some physical-store shoppers that are looking into online shopping is “how do I know that I’m buying a product as projected virtually?”

The answer is simple: Since online shopping has been about for quite some time and fraudsters have been inevitable, methods of verifying whether you are dealing with a legitimate seller have also arisen. Here are a few tips to help you succeed in your online buying:

Check out client testimonies – Online shopping sites have portions for client/customer feedback. By checking this portion of the website/page, you get to know what fellow buyers think of their purchase (satisfaction rate). It is also known as “user reviews.” This can be faked-use your best judgment.

Scan the website/page quality – Just like physical store shopping, online shop qualities vary. Here, the site represents the boutique/store you walk in. It does not necessarily have to be top-grade, full-blown designed. So long as it’s organized, user-friendly (as in easy to navigate), you’re good. Fraud sites are usually messy, in poor format, ad-heavy, and etc.Look for “security seals” – These are emblems you’ll usually see in the site’s homepage. Like the “BBB Reliability Program,” and/or “Hacker Safe” seals (to mention a few) that the online store boasts of.

Know the seller’s profile – This is usually an “about us” section where you read about the online store. Verified sellers usually have the founder’s personal profile-with full name and background or the store’s founding story, location, years in business, etc.

There are many more options to verify the deals you are about to make when shopping online and that’s what search engines are there for! Do a little online research-you’re sure to find forums or reviews that talk about shops and products online (this is the online version of the “word-of-mouth”).

Easy Guide to Smart Shopping Online

Holiday season is here and everyone is making a beeline to buy appropriate gifts to suit the occasion. At times like these the stores are almost filled up with huge crowds and deals that make it almost impossible to get what you want. It is relatively easier to go shopping online to save time and get better deals quickly. However, online shopping is convenient but at the same time, it can also be potentially dangerous to shop online. It is during festival occasion hackers are on the prowl to steal or tamper with maximum user information. Nevertheless, one cannot altogether avoid shopping online as it has to be done. Here is an easy guide to smart shopping online to help you keep safe.

Browsing

Initially you need to understand that using a reliable browser is the best option while deciding to shop online. You can use either Chrome or Firefox; the best option is using these browsers interchangeably. If you are using two browsers at the same time then you minimize your chances of online security threat from hackers. For example, you can use Chrome for transactions login and Firefox for casual browsing.Another essential tip is to check for the URL that is displayed in the address bar above the browsing window. While opening websites that require sensitive data transactions or user login details for shopping you need to check for the URL. Check for the HTTPS extension at the beginning of the URL. This indicates that it is safe to browse. Remember if you are about to check into a legitimate shopping website and it does not contain HTTPS then it is better that you do not log into it as you risk falling a prey to Phishing.

Passwords

Often we have a habit of continuing with the same password for a long time, this compromises your security. In order to be safer online it is essential to keep changing your passwords at a given interval of time especially during the holiday season. You need to change the passwords of your banking services, e-mail accounts and online shopping services that are similar to Amazon. Another thing to keep in mind is choosing a password that does not includes phrases or words. A password can be a composition of random words that can be separated by comas or spaces. However, you need to keep in mind that only websites like Microsoft accounts accept spaces within passwords including Amazon and Google. To be on the safe side, when you are done shopping you can again change your passwords to ensure the safety of your account.

Log Out

Many times, it so happens that you forget to either log out of your account or just hit the X to close the window. This way your account is still logged in and it becomes insecure as the cookies are stored that might be used for hacking your account. Make it a habit to log out of your account after you are done shopping, after using your e-mails or other such services that require login details along with passwords.

VPN

VPN or Virtual Private Network can be utilized to encrypt the web traffic. In case, if you do not have the option available then you can use an alternate program for securing your network. Downloading options like TOR for Mac and Windows, downloading software like LogMeIn Hamachi or an option like a HotSpot Shield suited to Mac and Windows users are good alternatives. These programs will keep you safe while you shop or make transactions online via shopping website.Paying options

During the holiday seasons, the web traffic is large and there are many opportunities for hackers to get their hands on the financial details of a user. However, you can stay safe by utilizing a credit card to pay for your online shopping. This will also keep you safe from any kind of online fraudulent practices. Comparatively paying with a debit card is relatively risky as your PIN, other details can be compromised, and you may lose a lot of cash.

Implementing all the above tips will help you stay safe while you indulge in shopping online.

8 Reasons Why You Should Shop Online

1. Save Money

Everyone wants to save money nowadays, it makes perfect sense. It doesn’t matter how much you earn, if you can pay less why not do it? Saving money is the most obvious reason to shop online. Online shopping has grown tremendously over the last few years and with time it will become the most popular way to shop. With this expansion has come an expansion of online savings. Thousands of online retailers have teamed up with numerous web sites that pass these saving on to consumers in the form of online coupons. These online coupons can be redeemed via the online retailers’ website by simply clicking on a link from one of these coupon sites. Consumers shopping online should take advantages of these coupons and the saving they have to offer.

2. Smart Shopping

Besides saving money, using coupons to shop online is a smart choice. Online coupons have become easily obtainable and even easier to use. If you are not already taking advantage of these coupons it’s time to become a smart shopper. You’ll be surprised how many of your favorite retailers offer online coupons. If you don’t take advantage of these online deals you’re simply not being a smart shopper.

3. Time is Money

This one is a gem, who has time to waste at the mall or clip paper coupons. Most of us spend some time at work surfing the web. Yes, I said it and you know it’s true. If this wasn’t the case why do online retailers have Cyber Monday? They know most of us are at work and chances are we’re in front of a computer. I’m not saying that you should ignore your work but if you have time to update your Facebook status and read what your friends are doing. Then you have time to do some online shopping through endless stores and endless products. OK, so maybe you don’t surf the web on company time but the fact is that you do surf the web. So why not take some of that time and direct it towards some online shopping? Shopping online will save you countless hours. Hours that can be better spent with friends and family.4. Save on Gas

Wow, have you seen the prices at the pump lately? I’m personally tired of all the excuses of why we are paying more for gas. Oil spill, gas goes up. Change of season, gas goes up. News out of the Middle East, gas goes up. Do yourself a favor, if you bypass the mall you save on gas. That’s money you can use to watch a movie or go out to dinner.

5. Save Your Car

Driving to the mall puts wear and tear on your vehicle and unnecessary miles. Plus those dings and dents you get when someone with a clunker parks next to your pride and joy. Save yourself the headache and expense, stay home and use those coupons from the comfort of your home while shopping in your PJs…now we’re talking!

6. Beat the Crowds

This is especially true during the holidays and if you are like me who waits until the last possible moment the crowds are brutal making every shopping task unbearable. It all begins when you arrive at the mall; you fight for a parking space. Then with your luck you get stuck at the register behind the shopper that picked up that item that has no SKU and you wait until a salesperson retrieves the same item from the floor. To make matters worse the cashier turns out to be a temp or new hire that has entered something incorrectly and to top it off you waste more time waiting for a Manager overwrite. Save yourself the hassle and just shop online.

7. Find Rare or Discontinued Items

Instead of shopping aimlessly calling every store within a 100 mile radius looking for that item you know is no longer available. Why not expand that search radius by shopping for those rare and discontinued items online. There is no need to drive to the next county or state to get that item. Online retailers use online coupons to move these discontinued items and they even dedicate entire portions of their sites to discontinue and clearance merchandise. Not only will you save money but you can find that rare purchase in a matter of minutes.

8. Find Sold Out Items

Ever shop for that sold out item during the holidays? Ever camp out at the local store because you got a tip that a new delivery is coming and there is a chance that maybe three items might be delivered that morning? You might say, merchandise also sell out online and yes you’re correct but at least you save yourself the torture of sleeping outside for the “chance” to get that sold out item.The bottom line is that shopping online with the combination of online coupons can equal huge savings.

Online coupons are broken down into three categories.

Coupons– These are simply links that offer a saving. The only thing required is to click on the link provided by the coupon site. Once the link is clicked on you get redirected to the online retailer where the saving will be automatically deducted from your shopping cart.

Coupon Codes (Promo Codes) – These are codes that you must write down or in the case of some sites you click on the code and it copies code so you can paste on the retailers site. Either way, these codes are used during the checkout process. Look for a small box that says something like “Coupon Code” or “Promo Code”. Enter or paste the code into this box and hit submit, this will apply the savings.

Free Shipping Coupons– The name says it all, these coupons are for free shipping. They can be in the form of a link or a coupon code.

Don’t forget to use these money saving tips next time you are about to purchase anything online.