Love online shopping? You’re not alone.
The National Retail Federation predicts online retail will grow 8-12% in 2017, up to three times higher than the growth rate of total retail sales.
Clearly, many enjoy the benefits of online shopping. You don’t have to fight traffic to drive to the mall and circle the parking lot. Online stores are open 24/7, and you can wear your pajamas. It’s easy to compare prices between multiple retailers and read both customer and professional reviews of products before you buy. Product selection is vast, to say the least, including many stores and unique items sold outside of the country. And, hey, products are shipped right to your door (and with Amazon Key, even dropped inside your door, too).
But to shop online safely, and protect your personal identity from malicious types, take heed of these online shopping safety tips, ahead of next month’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Look for the padlock
Always use a secure Internet connection when making a purchase. Reputable websites use technologies such as SSL (Secure Socket Layer) that encrypt data during transmission.
What does that mean to you?
Look for the little padlock in the address bar or a URL that starts with “https” instead of “http,” as the “s” stands for “secure.” Some browsers will tell you it’s safe to give out your credit card by showing you a green address bar, while unprotected ones will be highlighted in red.
Use a secure payment method
Only shop on sites that take secure payment methods, such as credit cards and PayPal, as they likely give you buyer protection just in case there’s a dispute.
In other words, you won’t be held liable for fraudulent charges. Even before it gets to that, you might be notified by your credit card company or bank if suspicious activity is detected.