I’m not a Black Friday shopper and apparently neither are many of my fellow financial bloggers. I’m much more of a Cyber Monday deal fanatic and love to do my shopping online.
Online shopping is not only more convenient, but you can do it within the comfort of your own home, and not have to deal with an overly crowded store and limited stock.
With all those perks, however, online shopping can still be dangerous. Here’s how to keep your money and your identity, safe while shopping online.
1. Use verified payment methods
Normally, every website has their own checkout system, but I prefer to use a verified online payment method, if they offer it. Sites like Paypal or BillMeLater store the information securely on their site, and they are verified companies.
If you have problems with your merchandise or don’t receive your purchase, you can file a claim and get a refund directly through them.
If you use a credit or debit card issued by Mastercard or Visa, you’re covered under the normal purchase protection plan, so there’s no need to worry about paying with plastic.
2. Only use trusted websites
It’s better to be safe than sorry when shopping online and only purchase items from websites and companies you trust – or that have a solid repuation.
If you’re uncomfortable on a certain website, getting the deal of the century isn’t worth the cost of having your card numbers or personal information stolen. Only use well known websites and buy from companies you trust.
3. Be sure it’s secure
During the checkout process you can look at the search bar at the top of the site to verify the web address starts with https.
This means the transactions on the site are completely secure and safe. Of course, this isn’t a foolproof strategy, but it’s a quick and easy way to make sure your information isn’t at risk.
4. Keep all purchase confirmations and receipts
Once you complete your purchase, it’s a good idea to print out your receipt or save the confirmation email.
You could also take a screenshot or download and store the information on your computer. This way, in case of any dispute or problems, you’ll have proof to support your claim.
This is also very beneficial in case you’d like to return an item for an exchange or refund. Plus, receipts are a smart way to save a lot of money!
5. Beware of deals that are TOO tempting
If a deal sounds really good or too tempting, you should probably steer clear. If you’re shopping on Amazon or eBay, check the sellers history and feedback before you make a purchase.
What are the reviews, and have other people had good experiences? This will let you know if the deal is for real, or not.
Above all, remember to stay within your spending plan and go with your gut. If the site is sketchy looking, allows too many pop ads or asks for unnecessary information, I would just stay away.
Check out BeFrugal.com for cash back rewards, coupons, discounts and even free shipping.
Have a happy and safe Cyber Monday online shopping experience!