Shopping for gifts for others (or yourself) online can be fun and exciting. With almost unlimited possibilities as to what sorts of products and price-ranges available there are very few things that online vendors do not offer. Unfortunately, virtually unlimited online shopping possibilities comes with some risks. When you do business with online vendors you take at least some degree of risk with them. You trust that the vendor on the other side of your Internet connection is really who they say they are.
Many people are apprehensive about shopping online because they do not know how they can do so safely and remain credit card fraud free. Technically there is no way to guarantee that you will never become a victim of fraud, even if you never shop online. Thieves and scammers are smart and make their livelihoods off of tricking innocent and sometimes highly educated people. However, there are definitely ways that you can drastically reduce your chances of being unsafe or a victim of fraud as you shop online. The following steps provide helpful suggestions that should provide you with much more peace of mind.
Steps to stay safe and fraud free while shopping online
1.Stick with what you know — The easiest way to remain safe and fraud free while shopping online is to only shop with vendors who you know. This means only visiting big name store websites. These stores have a reputation to withhold and take far more precautionary steps to ensure that your shopping experience remains safe because of it. Big name stores realize that they have a lot riding on the reputation of security that their websites have and make it their personal business to watch over and protect your information. Smaller online businesses simply do not have the resources to invest in creating this level of security. This is not to say that there are not secure small online businesses, only that you take more of a chance when you trust a name that you are not familiar with.
2.Look for the signs — There are some clear indicators that should tell you whether or not the site that you are visiting is safe or not. For example, a safe site will have a registered certificate of security and this security rating will be represented in the “https” that precedes the web address. Also, these secure companies will also have a padlock symbol somewhere in the web browser that should give even further information as to the security measures that the company has taken to assure your transaction is protected. Some signs to watch out for include pop-up messages and requests for personal information via e-mail. These two signs are popular methods that scammers use to trick you into giving up information that they can then use to commit fraud.
3.Use good judgment — Of all the many tricks that can be played on you, perhaps the best tool that you have to keep yourself safe and fraud free online is your conscience. If something sounds too good to be true, listen to your better judgment and walk away from the deal. If you ever feel like you are being played, simply log off of that site and look for your product somewhere else.
You may still be just as apprehensive as ever to shop online after reading this article, but there is nothing wrong with that. Just know that not every business is out to get you and that government agencies and private online business owners alike are on your side in the fight against thieves and scammers.