Online Shopping Made Safer

   By drodriguez  Dec 05, 2009

As the holidays grow closer and the lines at the department stores grow longer it may make more sense for some of us to do our shopping online.  With lots of websites offering free shipping and smart deals, shopping online can sometimes save you both time and money.  It's not unusual, however, for some to wonder how safe it really is to shop online and whether or not to share their personal information with just any site.

A recent article from the Washington Post shares some great tips on how to safely shop online this holiday season.  One tip is to use your credit card rather than your debit card.  Even though you may not want to wrack up the credit card bill this year,  fraud analyst Avivah Litan explains why it is safer than using a debit card.  Litan says that if your debit card number is stolen online it can be more complicated to sort out with the bank than if a credit card number is stolen, especially when fraud causes overdrafts or bounced checks.  Whereas with credit cards there are usually policies in place that limit your responsibility for fraudulent activity to around $50. 

Make sure you see the SSL sign/padlock on the browser address bar before entering any personal or financial information.  If you don't see this, you are probably on a fraudulent site.  Also, make sure to keep all of your receipts or take a screen shot so you can easily keep track of all your online shopping. 

If sharing personal financial information over the web still rubs you the wrong way, there may be some alternatives.  Some sites offer a "bill me later" option or you may want to consider using apre-paid credit card so there is no danger of your real credit card number being stolen. 

Another good tip when online shopping is to take your time, read all the fine print so you know you will be getting exactly what you want.  Though a lot of online stores are offering free shipping, make sure you read all the terms before making the purchase.  Look to see if they offer a return policy and make sure you are not signing up for any unwanted offers.

What do you think of the online shopping security tips offered above?

Do you feel comfortable doing some of your holiday shopping online this year?

Make a Comment

MEMarshall by MEMarshall | Spring Valley, CA
Feb 20, 2010

I am becoming very familiar with and loving online shopping, I even get cash back on all of my purchases. Check out this site, you will love it and there are over 700 stores.

terpsichore15 by terpsichore15 | Las Vegas, NV
Jan 09, 2010

This post is really helpful.I wanna try online shopping as many of the products that I am curious about recently are from Asia but I'm not sure as how to do this safely.

marrbear by marrbear | MEDINAH, IL
Jan 05, 2010

So far I have not had a problem but always try to be careful regarding the sites I use. I do most of my shopping on line not in the stores

Alyssarae92293 by Alyssarae92293 | BOYNTON BEACH, FL
Dec 29, 2009


blueeyes1 by blueeyes1 | Topeka, KS
Dec 25, 2009

I have onlined shop for years now and feel safe doing so. I use a credit card to limit my liability, and I look for the safety padlock on the web site. I also open up another window and check for coupon codes before I ever check out. This has saved me money on many occasions. I made an early New Years resolution this year to only shop at places which offered free shipping and free returns. One of my new favorite places to shop is! I love the free shipping/returns, the prices, and once you order you become a member and are rewarded with more discounts! I would recommend this site to everyone. I also shop from Amazon quite frequently and have had nothing but great service from them as well.

Monzav by Monzav | Iowa City, IA
Dec 15, 2009

I really like the above tips! The padlock icon on the toolbar is something I have recently noticed... and I'm glad I did! I rarely shop from "small businesses" online, which sounds awful, unless I personally know/have been in personal contact with the person who runs it. I'm far too paranoid of my information being stolen, so I try to take good care of where I shop and my security options. Thanks for the extra tips!

AimeeAken by AimeeAken | Omaha, NE
Dec 15, 2009

Another great tip that most people are not aware of, if a website starts with http: it is not a secure sight, but if it starts with https .. the "S" stands for secure. You will also see the little padlock at the bottom of the page as already mentioned.

nikkiq by nikkiq | NEWBERRY, FL
Dec 13, 2009

i have alot problem shopping on line they send me wrong merchandise, size does not fit, can't tell from the picture on internet if it quality or not , like homedepot order fence two week later order more fence they said is discontinue . i would rather go to store and shop as list i can tell what the product look like, or be able to try on. on internet you pay to ship back, so for me would not be worth it.

srg1214 by srg1214 | Perris, CA
Dec 11, 2009

I love online shopping. I buy things online all of the time at stores that I trust and on ebay. One thing that I really love about ebay and many other websites is that I no longer have to provide my credit card information. A lot of places have started excepting Paypal, and if they don't, paypal has a plug-in that will create a one time use credit card number for me. I have never had any problems shopping online. Paypal even helped me to get my money back from someone who did not offer refunds when I was dissatisfied with the condition of an item I purchased. I have two little girls and I don't always want to drag them to the store/mall. Online shopping makes my life so much easier.

joy9281 by joy9281 | TOLEDO, OH
Dec 11, 2009

i love online shopping it is convenient easy and i do feel safe when i do shop online

mommyof3ree by mommyof3ree | Las Vegas, NV
Dec 11, 2009

I went to Shutterfly to purchase a photo book, at the end of my purchase a "coupon" popped up for my next purchase. Interested I found the fine print and it was a separate company that would have charged my credit card for a monthly membership! Two days later I saw this same company on the news being scrutinized and being sued for their business practices. Always read the fine print and don't click links that you're not sure of.

dipole by dipole | salt lake city, UT
Dec 10, 2009

I always look for the little lock.....great info

deligirl191 by deligirl191 | Fredericktown, PA
Dec 09, 2009

I feel safe only going to sites I know and are well known and I check my credit cards to check for transactions I haven't done

xntexas by xntexas | Clute, TX
Dec 09, 2009

I too only go to sites I feel safe and are well known. Also I check my brower url . I Use

MadHatter by MadHatter | Whitestone , NY
Dec 08, 2009

i only go and favorite the sites that i trust so there is little to no error when i need to pull up the site again. I have been worried about credit card fraud and i have been a victim of this twice in less then a month with the same credit card company. once when i found out that someone charged over $100 for a Halloween costum, mind you i don't celebrate. i got the cc company to put a stop on the card and dispute the charges. then they replaced my cc and less then a week later, i don't know how, someone used the new card to charge for cable across the country??? i haven't even used the new card yet!!!! seriously. now i don't trust this cc company and haven't touched the card since. thank's American Express, you sure know how to give me a head ache