Online Deals, Coupons and More: A Complete Guide to Shopping Safely Online

Today's modern shopping experience is much different from previous generations. In the past, traditional brick and mortar stores were the only way to receive goods or services. The information superhighway has expanded consumer's shopping horizons and now making purchases online is almost more prevalent than in stores. More and more consumers are increasingly making purchases solely online and actual storefronts are changing their ways to keep customers coming through the door. Since many retailers are now offering online shopping options, it is important that consumers remember to stay safe while cruising and shopping on the Internet. Understanding the basics of Internet security is a great way to help protect you from any fraudulent activity on your credit card or bank account as well as identity theft. Know the warning signs and learn how to make smart online purchases, and you can buy things on the web without fear.

Understanding Security Basics

In order to maintain privacy and safety while shopping online, you need to understand the basics of good Internet security. First, make sure you're familiar with the merchant you are shopping with. Do they have a good reputation? Is their website secure? Are they a nationally recognized retail chain or a smaller independent store? Look for the web address to show https at the beginning when making a purchase. The "s" at the end of the http means that the page or site is secure and encrypted. Never shop on a site that asks for very personal information such as your social security number. This information should never be submitted in any form online. It can open the door for identity theft, which can take years to erase. It's also important to be certain the site you are shopping with has good credit card security protection. This should include asking for your CVV number, which is a three digit code found on the back of your credit card. This extra security step helps to prevent fraud or someone else using your credit card number. If you are a member of any particular website, be sure to choose a difficult password for people to find out about. Change it frequently, and never write your password down anywhere. Following these basic security tips are essential to remaining safe while shopping online.

Online Privacy: What You Need to Know

Keeping your private information private is essential to avoiding headaches later down the line. There are several things you can do to prevent people from stealing information such as your passwords, credit card numbers, birth date, social security number, and any other item of information you may have to enter into a form online. First, make sure all websites you visit use something called SSL, or Secure Socket Layers. This level of protection helps to prevent hackers from getting into the site and from stealing information. Delete your cookies and Internet history every time you exit your web browser. This also keeps thieves from getting into your computer remotely because they have nowhere to go. Set your privacy controls for the browser to a higher level, and always request that you need a password to log onto your computer. If you have wireless access, be sure your wireless router is set up as a secured connection, and never let anyone know your wireless password. Open any emails you receive with caution, and never click on a link from an email you get unless you are positive it is coming from a secure source. When you exit a website, be sure to log out immediately. Do not wait for the website to "time out" and log you out because there is a possibility someone may try to hack into their site without your knowledge and steal your information.