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Tips for Safe Online Shopping

Over the years, many people have turned from shopping at crowded retail stores in favor of online shopping. During the holiday season, people are relying more and more on online shopping to complete their gift list. However, protecting your identity and wallet online is as important as in person, so follow these simple safety steps to insure that your online shopping experience is safe and easy.

Be Careful What You Click

Always be skeptical about links your receive in an email, especially for things like promo codes or coupons. Clicking on the links can leave you vulnerable to phishing scams, which aim to steal personal identity information from people. If you do receive a link in an email, try researching more about the brand or company to see if other people have reported problems before you click.

Use Trusted Websites

Instead of starting a search for a product in your search engine, consider going to a trusted selling site first, like eBay or Amazon. If you need to buy an item directly from a company's website, do a little fact-checking before you buy. Find out contact info and the physical location of the company, and figure out the shipping, billing and delivery guarantees before you make any kind of purchase. Be sure the website is secure before you enter any personal information in a box. if the website is safe the web address will often start with "https:" rather than "http:." It may also have a padlock symbol near or in the address bar.

Consider Upgrading Your Browser

Some browsers have extensions and add-ons available for download that help protect you from phishing and other online scams. One such option, SmartScreenFilter, can detect a malicious or dangerous website and route you away before anything bad happens. In addition to an ad-block extension and up-to-date virus protection, These programs can alert you to phony websites or places where people have reported problems and can decrease the chances you may be subjected to fraudulent activities.

Be Careful Shopping With Cell Phones

Since more people shop electronically using their smartphones, it is important to be extra careful. Lock your phone with a difficult password so if your phone is lost or stolen, thieves can do minimal damage to your credit or accounts. Furthermore, rely on trusted apps directly from the retailer, like Amazon, eBay or Walmart, instead of using your web browser to make a purchase.

The chances pf being taken advantage of online decreases immensely with increased awareness and caution. Just be sure to use trusted websites and be aware when entering and personal information. With a little care, you can rest assured this holiday season that your online shopping will be painless and easy -- plus, you won't have to wait in long lines.


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