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Posts Tagged ‘Shopping Guide’

Online Shopping Guide

Friday, June 14th, 2013

Stay away from fishy-looking sites. You can’t always tell when a website isn’t legitimate, but red flags include poor design, a strange or nonsensical Web address, and multiple pop-up windows you can’t close. If you notice any of these suspicious signs, stop shopping and close your browser windows.

Avoid clicking on hyperlinks embedded in emails. The Better Business Bureau warns that legitimate businesses don’t send emails asking for follow-up financial information. If an email, even one that claims to be from a familiar retailer, asks you to visit an outside site, don’t do it — it could be redirecting you to a scam site. Instead of clicking on a hyperlink, key the Web address that you want to visit into your browser manually.

Shop on secure websites only. Adam Levin, the founder of Credit.com and Identity Theft 911, suggests looking for “https” instead of just “http” in the address bar. Also, he adds, be sure your computer’s anti-virus software is up to date, since you may come across viruses when surfing online for deals and good buys.

Never, ever give your Social Security number to anyone online. If a site asks for it during the checkout process, it’s probably a scam site, says Levin.

Take advantage of the automatic identity-theft protection that comes with many credit cards. That’s one reason to use your credit card instead of debit cards or cash while shopping. If you see erroneous charges on your statement, you can call your credit card company, which should investigate on your behalf.
The Better Business Bureau points out that credit card companies are required to allow shoppers to dispute charges, and many companies cover charges made on stolen cards. Check your credit card statements frequently (don’t wait until you get your monthly bill); many card companies have time limits for disputing charges.

Change up your passwords. With consumers asked to remember dozens of passwords for various retailers, banks and accounts, it’s almost impossible to remember them all, especially since they often include mixes of numbers and letters. Either keep careful track in a secure document, rely on mnemonic devices to boost your memory, or come up with some other clever strategy — but don’t stick with simple passwords that are easy to guess.

Review your rights. The Better Business Bureau reminds shoppers that if products aren’t shipping on time, consumers have the right to cancel the order and get a refund. They can also reject merchandise they deem defective or misrepresented.

Wield that cellphone carefully. Security firm BitDefender reports that shopping with mobile devices can come with its own set of security challenges, since shortened URLs can more easily trick shoppers into visiting harmful sites. Also, public Wi-Fi access is convenient, but it can leave your personal information accessible to hackers, so avoid entering passwords and credit card numbers while in public hotspots.

Avoid strangers on social media. Although many retailers use social media to drum up business, sometimes their accounts get hacked and you’re sent a dangerous message or tweet designed to look legitimate. Fraudsters also send malicious messages through social networks. BitDefender recommends treating messages from strangers as spam — just ignore them.

Don’t click on fake e-cards. E-greetings are welcomed by most people, but the security firm AppRiver says fake cards can spread viruses. It recommends that consumers delete cards that come from unfamiliar addresses

Guide to Bargain Online Shopping

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

The amount of money that consumers spend shopping online continues to grow exponentially each year, and there seems to be no slowdown in sight. Everybody loves a bargain, but few have the time and patience to travel from store to store seeking out the best prices. One of the many advantages of shopping online is that you can scout out similar products and find the most inexpensive prices. This holds true whether you’re shopping for fragrances, tools, pet supplies, auto parts, toys, jewelry, or virtually anything else you’re in the market for.

Unfortunately, though, it’s not always straightforward to do price comparisons. Although there are some sites that allow you to search for a product by price, the results are sometimes influenced by the money e-tailers pay to ensure that their online shopping sites are at or near the top of the results. In other words, you often aren’t given the least expensive items, but are instead given paid advertisements for the online stores that carry the product in which you’re interested.

Another way to comparison shop is to go directly to the sites of online retailers and search for the product you’d like, and then note the price that each offers. This process is inordinately cumbersome, in that you invariably have a half dozen browser windows open on your computer, and have to toggle among them to hone in on precisely the product you seek. At the end of your journey, you still might not arrive at the best available price, since you’ve only looked at the online stores of which you’re already aware.

The latest trend in bargain shopping is the online mall. Essentially, this is a site that offers tens of thousands of products in a wide variety of product categories. Whether you’re shopping for gifts or for pet supplies, an online shopping mall typically has what you need. Among the many advantages of an online shopping mall is that the best ones offer brand name products at near wholesale (or sometimes below wholesale) prices.

When an online shopping mall offers incredible bargains, it is often because the items they offer are dropshipped by the manufacturer or supplier. In other words, you receive the package directly from the supplier instead of from the online shopping mall. This means that the mall doesn’t have to keep inventory or incur cost-intensive overhead expenses. As a result, it can pass along the savings to you. Indeed, you can often find products that are discounted anywhere from ten to fifty percent off of the list prices.