Thursday, November 24, 2011

Some Useful Guidelines for Safe Online Shopping

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With the Internet now being at nearly everyone’s hands, online shopping has become an easy way to browse online ads for new and used items. And most major companies allow you to search their merchandise online and purchase whatever you choose. The great part about online shopping is that you can search classifieds in India all the way from Brazil to find real estate for a retirement or vacation home or search around for the best deal on new and used cars. And while the internet has made this easier, it has also provided some hurdles as well.
Consider that over two billion people in the world use the internet. And with everything good comes something bad. Identity theft is a real issue that can affect any one of those two billion Internet users. How can you protect yourself when shopping online?
First of all, most sites allow you to browse ads or products for free without even having a user name or password. If the site is a trusted site (encoded by https:// and a lock at the bottom of the screen), then and only then is it safe to give a name. But even then, be discriminatory when giving out your name and address. Once your information is on the web, it’s out there for any hacker to take, and they live off this easy bait.

Second, never store your personal information on the database. The site may look professional and have a good privacy policy, but that does not insure that the site will never be hacked. Storing your credit card information online only makes it easier for hackers to steal. Save yourself the hassle and enter your password, address, and account information on your own.
Lastly and most importantly, it is a better idea to use your credit card instead of your debit card. More credit card companies have a better fraud insurance where if your identity is stolen, you are more likely to get all or most of the money back. However, once someone gets a hold of your debit card number, they can wipe out your account in a matter of seconds without getting anything back. To be even safer, use gift cards not attached to any account.
When searching through ads for apartments and cars, never send personal information over email. For large purchases, such as cars and real estate, it is always best to search through the adverts and call the retailer personally if possible. Be certain that whoever you are talking to is an actual employee with actual merchandise to sell. But never give out your account information, personal identification number, address or anything important.
Online shopping can be easy since the world is at your fingertips without having to get dressed for the day. However, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a risk that you take when you buy products online. Not all sites are secure and not all retailers can be trusted. Protect yourself.

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