One of the coolest features available through the Internet is that when you use it, you are not bound by geographical location. This is especially handy when you shop. Shopping online can be fun, easy, convenient and economical, but just as in the real world, certain precautions must be taken. Here are five safety tips for online shopping.

Make comparison of the products you purchase. As your mother always said, do not jump on the first thing you see. Comparison shopping is important to ensure you get the right product at the best possible price.

Buy only on secure sites. Reputable online merchants should always be protected by SSL or SET-connection to keep your data safe. Check the address line of your browser window - you should see a small padlock icon and/or "https://" before the address instead of "http://". If you do not see them, shop somewhere else.

Don’t shop using Wi-Fi. When using Wi-Fi at a coffee shop, hotel, airport, or restaurant, you are making yourself vulnerable to identity theft. Your iPhone, Blackberry, Smartphone and laptop can easily be hacked on a free or paid public Wi-Fi spot.

Shopping from your personal computer. When you enter your personal information on a public computer, you greatly increase the chances that your information will be stolen. You have no control over what type of spyware or malware might be infecting that computer. So, just don’t do it. Shop at home. It is much safer.

Use credit card instead of debit card. Credit cards happen to be the most secure way to pay the cyber store.Credit cards happen to be the most secure way to pay the cyber store. Most importantly, if the worst does happen and your account information is stolen or intercepted the worst they can do is run up charges on your card. With a debit card this would mean draining your bank account. 

Prices and selection are two of the best benefits to shopping online. However, don’t let the benefits lull you into complacency. Take time to shop safely, and be careful with the sites you choose to make purchases. Then, not only can you find great deals, but you can do it without the worry that your identity will be stolen in the process.