Category Archives: Internet Safety

The Risk Of Online Shopping

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Although there are many who enjoy online shopping, there are others who have fears about online shopping and do not enjoy this type of shopping. For these shoppers there too many concerns which prevent the shopper from feeling completely comfortable shopping online. This article will address these concerns and offer information about how shoppers can help to avoid these online shopping dangers and feel more comfortable about the process of shopping online.

Misuse/Theft On Credit Card Or Personal Details
Identity theft is a very real concern because unscrupulous individuals who acquire sensitive information about an online shopper can do a great deal of damage to the individual’s financial situation and credit score. While identity theft is a very valid concern, online shoppers are not completely vulnerable to identity theft in most cases. However, the online shopper should know how to determine whether or not the information they provide online is secure or not. This is important because while the risk of identity theft associated with online shopping through a secure website is relatively small, this risk is significantly larger when the website is not secure. For this reason, online shoppers should carefully examine the web address for any website in which they submit sensitive information. Fraud resulting from making payments over unsecured web pages and using an unsecured Wi-Fi connection. Websites which start with “https://” as opposed to “http://” indicate the information is being submitted through a secure server. Most reputable online retailers will provide a secure website for shoppers but some smaller online retailers may not offer this degree of security.

Paying For Goods That Never Arrive
This can happen quite frequently, but fortunately as consumers we have considerable protection from this when using reputable vendors. Sites such as Amazon and eBay offer ways to compensate consumers who could be ripped off by fraudulent third party sellers. Again we recommend you carefully check customer reviews and rating before making your purchase.

Cyberspace companies
Companies on the Internet may appear to be bigger or more credible than they really are. This means you risk dealing with bogus companies.Bogus online companise are those fake websites and email offers for goods and services that do not exist.

Dealing with Returns
Another problem which faces many online retailers is the potential for problems which result from the need to return items purchased online. In most cases the return process with online retailers is quite simple and is not more difficult than returning items to a regular store. In fact online retailers who have a traditional store often allow online shoppers to make returns to these locations instead of shipping the item back to the online retailer. However, returns are not always this easy. In some cases the shopper will be financially responsible for the cost of shipping the item back to the online retailer. This can be costly if the item is oversized and could require pricy insurance if the item is expensive. Online shoppers who have concerns about the return policy for an online retailer should carefully review these policies and inquire if they have any questions about the process before making a purchase.

Misleading Product Descriptions
Receiving goods or services which do not match the advertiser’s description. This may include product descriptions which are intentionally or unintentionally ambiguous. The concern in this situation is that the shopper will purchase the wrong item or an item which is not as described by the online retailer and the buyer will have difficulty returning the item if necessary.

Counterfeit, Damaged or Stolen Goods
This is detrimental to the consumer in many ways, the most obvious of which is being landed with a substandard product. However, it is also possible for the customer to put their own health at risk by purchasing an item which is simply dangerous.Counterfeit drugs can cause damage either by containing harmful ingredients or by simply not containing any active ingredients at all, leading individuals to believe they are being treated when they aren’t.

Safety Tips For Online Shopping

Here’s a checklist of what you can do to minimise the risk becoming a victim of Internet fraud.

Use Trusted Websites/Vendors – There are many simple ways to improve your safety when buying online. By shopping from trusted vendors you can be sure to stay safe.

Don’t Shop Publicly – Do not do any transaction when using an unsecured Wi-Fi connection. These blackhat hackers can easily hack your personal information through this unsecured Wi-Fi connection.

Make Sure your Device Is Protected – To ensure that your security program’s protection stays updated, keep its virus and malware signatures up-to-date. Ensure you have effective and updated antivirus/antispyware software and firewall running before you go online.

Choose Credit Over Debit Cards – Credit cards can be the safer choice for online shopping. Remember that paying by credit card offers greater protection than with other methods in terms of fraud, guarantees and non-delivery. If someone manages to intercept your financial information online, they can do less damage and you have more recourse than if you’d used a debit card. This is for two reasons:

  • Credit cards have spending limits, while debit cards—which are directly linked to your bank account—do not.
  • You can dispute fraudulent charges made to a credit card without being out-of-pocket the amount in dispute, but money withdrawn directly from your checking account by a debit card is much more difficult to recover.

Payment Via Secure Payment Site – When making a payment to an individual, never transfer the money directly into their bank account but use a secure payment site such as PayPal or Google Checkout, where money is transferred between two electronic accounts.

Website Security – Make sure the order checkout area is encrypted. Before you purchase anything from a website, verify that the vendor has encrypted its payment form. There should be a padlock icon in the browser window frame, which appears when you attempt to log in or register. The website address should begin with ‘https://’ instead of “http:”. The ‘s’ stands for ‘secure’.norton3002501

Double Check – Double check! Double check! Double check! Double check all details of your purchase before confirming payment.

Keep Copies Of All Correspondence – When you place an order online, most companies will send you an e-mail confirming the order has been received.Print or save the confirmation and keep it until you receive your product.

With risks that differ from traditional stores, online shopping requires extra precautions. To protect yourself and your information, follow these steps before you key in your credit card information and proceed.

Comparing Online Stores And Retailers

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Online to purchase goods or services saves considerable time and effort – and also presents you with the widest choice. There are, however, risks associated with online shopping and you need to take care with what you are buying, from whom, and how you pay for your purchases. This is important because not all retailers are created equal. The same product offered from two different online retailers may be more expensive from one retailer, have a higher shipping cost from one retailer and may be subject to different return policies. All of these factors can contribute to the consumer’s overall satisfaction with the product even when we are discussing identical products because these factors influence the purchasing experience. Additionally, the reputation of the online retailer can also help to influence the consumer’s decision of whether or not to make a purchase from a particular consumer. This article will discuss comparing online retailers using factors such as price, shipping and return policies.

Using Price to Make Comparisons
Price is one of the obvious factors which consumers often use to compare retailers whether they are considering shopping online shop (ecommerce) or in physical stores. This is a very important consideration because not all retailers sell the same products for the same price. While, in general, the prices will often be similar simply because retailers are in direct competition with each other for a consumer’s business there are occasions in which one particular retailer may be offering a product at a discounted price. These price deviations typically occur when a retailer is attempting to reduce inventory to either make room for new products or because the retailer is closing its operations. Regardless of the reason for the price reductions, consumers can benefit by purchasing items from this retailer and a lower price than they would pay with other retailers.

Consumers who are relying on price to decide between two online retailers should also verify the reputation of the online retailer before making the purchase. This is usually not an issue when the consumer is making a purchase from a well-known chain of stores. However, when the consumer does not know much about the online retailer it is wise to investigate the retailer to ensure it is a legitimate and reputable company. Consulting the Better Business Bureau is one way the consumer can learn more about the reputation of the company.

Comparison shopping engines (CSE) collect product information, including pricing, from participating retailers and then display that collective information on a single results page in response to a shopper’s search query. In this way, shoppers can compare each retailer’s price, shipping options, and service on a single page and choose the merchant that offers the best overall value.

Considering Shipping in the Comparison
Although cost is often one of the first factors consumers consider when comparing online retailers or even traditional retailers, shipping must also be considered carefully when comparing two or more online retailers. This is because the cost of shipping as well as the shipping options can both influence the consumer’s decision. Two retailers may offer products for the same price but the shipping prices may differ from one online retailer to the next. In some cases this difference may substantially change the total price of purchasing the item.

Online retailers also sometimes have to consider the shipping methods available. This is especially important if the consumer needs to have an item arrive quickly. In these cases a consumer may opt to choose one online retailer over another if only one of the retailers offers express shipping options such as overnight shipping or two day shipping.

The Importance of Return Policy
Online shoppers should also always be aware of the return policies when they are making purchases online. This is important because the cost of returning an item can be expensive in some cases especially if it is a large or a heavy item. While some online retailers will bear the cost of shipping when they make mistakes or items are defective, returns for other reasons may result in the consumer being responsible for shipping charges. For these reasons consumers should always carefully review the return policies when comparing two or more online retailers.

Online Shopping During the Holidays

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Shopping online during the holidays has become one of the most popular options for shoppers. Two of the most common benefits shopping online during holiday season includes the ability to do last minute shopping online and the convenience of avoiding overcrowded stores during the holiday season. This article will discuss these two advantages in greater detail and will also provide information on some of the other advantages to online shopping which are also important to holiday shoppers.

Last Minute Shopping for Holiday Gifts

Although there are some shoppers who are well prepared and do their holiday shopping in advance, many shoppers find themselves scrambling to purchase gifts at the last minute. These last minute shoppers far outnumber the well organized individuals who complete their holiday shopping months in advance. This category also includes not only chronic procrastinators who put off holiday shopping until the last minute but also includes well intentioned shoppers who were caught by surprise with a need to purchase gifts for a few extra people at the last minute. Fortunately for these last minute shoppers, online shopping take a great deal of the stress out of last minute shopping.

One of the greatest benefits of last minute shopping is the ability to ship gifts to friends and relatives. Internet shopping is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The available shipping options may even make it possible for shoppers to have these gifts arrive within 24 hours after making the purchase. Shoppers may pay a premium for these express shipping services but it can be a worthwhile investment for last minute shoppers who would otherwise be caught empty handed.norton3002501

Avoiding Holiday Crowds by Shopping Online

The crowds at traditional stores can unbelievable during the holiday season. Finding a parking space often becomes a stressful situation and simply navigating stores can be chaotic. While some shoppers thrive in this type of environment most shoppers find this to be stressful. Furthermore some shoppers may enjoy this type of environment for brief periods of time but may have difficulty completing their holiday shopping with so much chaos surrounding them. Fortunately, online shopping provides a welcomed escape to much of the shopping chaos of traditional stores.

Online shoppers can shop when it is most convenient for them and typically the most troubling crowd related problems they experience is slow loading of websites which are overloaded by website visitors. Waiting for a few extra moments for a website to reload may be somewhat frustrating but it is significantly less stressful than standing in line at a crowded store for long periods of time.

Added Benefits to Shopping Online During the Holidays

There are also other benefits to shopping online during the holidays which do not necessarily pertain to the holiday season but certainly simplify the process of shopping online for holiday gifts. One of these benefits is the ability to comparison shop with ease. When shopping online comparison shopping is as easy as opening two different websites from competitors and comparing the products they have available and the prices they are charging for these products. This is much simpler than running around from one store to another to find out which stores have a particular item available and how much each store is currently charging for this item.

Another benefit to shopping online is the ability to purchase items from stores located far away. Holiday shoppers who limit themselves to traditional stores are also limiting the products which are available to them. These traditional shoppers can only purchase items which they physically find in a store while online shoppers can search stores around the world for a particular item. This can be particular useful for shoppers who are looking for a specific item which is hard to locate.