Secure Shopping Online

Three Questions to Ask

Many people still have concerns regarding whether it is safe to shop online which begs the question: Is it safe to shop for stuff online? Unfortunately there is no simple answer to this question. However, there is a list of questions you can ask to help you decide if it’s safe to purchase the item you’re looking for online. A few of these questions you should ask deal with the online retailer’s reputation, the security of the server and the return policy offered on the items. Here I want to discuss some of these questions in an effort to help you make informed decisions regarding online shopping.

Is the Online Retailer Reputable?

Determining whether or not an online retailer is reputable is pretty important because shoppers are muchVerify the Reputation of an Online RetailerCredit: more likely to be satisfied with purchased from a reputable website than they are to be satisfied when the purchase is made from an online retailer with a less favorable reputation.

The main option for verifying the reputation of the online retailer is to consult the Better Business Bureau: Here you can find information regarding previous complaints against the online retailer and can use this information to determine whether or not the retailer has a reputation for fairness. Online retailers who have been in business for a few years and have little or no complaints against them can generally be trusted while shoppers should be wary of businesses who have many unresolved complaints against them or who have only been in business for a short period of time.  For example, even though the Kindle Fire tablet is a fairly new product at Amazon, you know that millions of people have ordered from the super site and they can be trusted because of the secure check-out system they have developed over the years.  Further, their returns policy is one that can help you order from Amazon with confidence.

Is the Server Secure?

You should also check the server security of the site from which you’re going make an online purchase.  This is a valid concern because identity theft can cause a tremendous amount of problems for the shopper. This is one of the easiest checks when deciding whether or not to shop online.  During checkout (which is when you submit your credit card info), make sure the site has a prefix of <https://>. If the website is not secure, you should consider making the purchase by phone instead of submitting the information via an unsecured website where it can be vulnerable to being intercepted.

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Many online retailers allow you to store your credit card information on their site. If you want absolutely want to protect your identity and credit you probably shouldn't store your info with them in case their database gets hacked.

What is the Return Policy?

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The return policy of an online retailer can also give you a good indication of whether or not the seller is reputable. In general the return policies offered by online retailers should be the same as the return policies offered by traditional retailers with only the exception of special provisions for handling the shipping of the product back to the retailer. Return policies which are unusually restrictive should be considered suspect by the shopper and may indicate a need for the shopper to do some additional research before deciding whether or not to patronize a particular online retailer.

Hopefully, I've offered some additional information in terms of making sure all of your online shopping experiences are safe and secure.  Make sure you are informed about an online retailer's reputation, server security and their return policy before making a purchase.