Online shopping today is not the same as it was five years ago. In 2022, the risks of being tracked or hacked when shopping online have become a growing concern among internet users. If you prefer shopping online for all your needs, it is essential to learn how to be a smart shopper.
If you are not confronted with security issues, online shopping can also be an easy road to bankruptcy. It is important to be careful when adding stuff to your cart to avoid overspending and impulse buying.
Here are timely tips that will help you protect your privacy and enhance your security when shopping online while making great purchasing decisions to save money.
Only buy from safe shopping websites
Before you start making purchases from a website, ensure it has a valid SSL certificate. This can be checked by clicking on the padlock icon on the URL bar and go to the certificate sections to check the credentials. Also, a safe website has HTTPS prefix before the web address.
Most modern web browsers warn users when they are about to visit a site that does not have an SSL certificate, making it easier to avoid these sites.
Use a VPN to shop online
Hackers and online data thieves can intercept your network when you are shopping or making payments online. This is especially common when you use open Wi-Fi networks or a network with a weak security protocol.
If you do not know what a VPN is, it is a tool you can use to secure communication between your device and the websites you visit. This is done by creating a secure and encrypted transfer channel. With a VPN, hackers cannot intercept the connection, ensuring your shopping online is secure.
It’s best to use a VPN with servers in your geo-location. If you’re in Australia, for example, you would use an Australia VPN.
Always conduct price comparisons
Before buying anything online, always make price comparisons from different vendors. Some of the comparison sites you can use include Google Shopping, ShopSavvy, and Shopzilla, among others. On these platforms, you can see the latest prices for the same items from different sites.
This is the best way to save while shopping online and ensure you only get the best deals.
Consider the return policy on the site
Most online shoppers get the short end of shopping deals online because they do not check the return policy an online store offers. If the item you buy does not suit your needs or meet the quality standards you expected, you need to ensure you can return it for a full refund or exchange. This can only be possible if the merchant has a return policy.
Ensure you read the policy to learn about acceptable return timelines, return shipping guidelines, the refund options and exchange options.
The most secure methods of paying for your online shopping is by card or merchant services like PayPal. This ensures that your money is protected in case the merchant fails to deliver. Paying by credit card also protects your money. In case your card is used for fraudulent purchases, you are only liable to the first 50 dollars used.
Find discounts and coupon offers
Sometimes, websites run discounts, coupons, and cashback offers through codes. To save on online shopping, always look out for discount and coupon codes online before checkout. You can find these codes on google search, or somewhere on the eCommerce website.
Always keep these smart shopping tips in mind when shopping online. Becoming a smart shopper is the best way to guarantee your safety online while ensuring you save money.