Thinking of online shopping? Here’s how to stay safe

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What is online shopping?

  1. Buying something over the internet.
  2. It can be easier than going to stores because you
    • don’t have to travel and go to a crowded store.
    • choose items on your computer while staying home.
    • just give your name and credit card information.
    • click a button and wait for delivery.
  3. Shipping is free sometimes.
  4. It can be a cheaper way to send gifts to loved ones back home.

Other reasons for trying online shopping:

  1. More savings
    • Some business owners do not spend on running a store. This makes their goods cheaper.
    • Online stores offer discounts.
  2. Unique items
    • Many items online are not offered at regular stores.
  3. Wider selection of goods
    • Some websites sell anything from clothes to cars.
    • Others offer second-hand goods and brand new ones.
    • Others have a greater choice of brands, even handmade crafts.
  4. Easy to compare prices
    • You don’t have to drive from store to store to compare.
    • You can check online.
    • Some online stores do it for you.
  5. Returns are easy if you buy from one with a physical store
    • big e-retailers have physical stores
    • if you get the wrong size, color or model, you can return them easily
  6. Check return policies before buying.

Don’t trust online shopping?

Many don’t trust online shopping because:

  • there are many fake websites.
  • some are phishing sites. They steal personal information.
  • there are many stories about people scammed by fake websites.

Tips for safe online shopping:

  1. Use only safe websites
    • Go straight to trusted stores instead of searching online.
    • Examples are popular companies like Amazon, Etsy, eBay.
    • Order from well-known retailers like Costco, Best Buy, Home Depot.
    • Trusted websites have contact details on the page. They will have email or phone numbers for customer feedback.
    • Don’t buy from 8 online stores: 8 online retailers you should never order from by Alessandra Dubin.
    • Never click a link from a spam email.
    • Never buy anything from a site in a spam email.
  2. Signs of a safe URL
    • The web address should start with “https” (not http).
    • There should be a symbol of a locked padlock on the address bar.
    • Beware of wrong spelling or a different domain, for example .net instead of .com.
    • Don’t go to websites that have grammatical errors, wrong spelling and too many ads.
  3. Do not provide personal information
    • Beware of a site that asks for your SIN or birth date.
    • Sign-up for Paypal.
    • Paypal will let you pay using your credit card without sharing your financial information.
  4. Have a secure password
    • Create passwords combining letters, numbers and symbols.
    • Make different passwords for different sites.
    • Watch the video from Google below for tips.

  5. Don’t use public computers
    • Don’t use computers in the library or at a café for online shopping.
    • Someone sitting behind you may see your screen when you type information.
    • You might forget to log-out. Another person may use your account or steal information.
  6. Check the currency
    • Check the item’s price. See if it is in the currency you prefer.
    • Sites like Amazon and e-Bay usually post prices in US$. Your bank can charge you an additional fee for currency conversion.
    • Double check your total bill on the check-out page before you click “order”. There might be taxes or other fees you may not be aware of.
  7. Always check your statements
    • Read your credit card statements. Check your account regularly.
    • Check each transaction.
    • If you see something you did not buy, call the bank immediately.
  8. Understand terms of use
    • Read and understand the website’s rules and regulations before buying.
    • Know the rules on delivery/shipping, returns, discounts, and other details.
    • Know the number to call for questions or complaints.
  9. Use a good data security software
    • Security software can protect you from spyware, viruses, and other threats.
    • It can keep your credit card information safe.

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