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Online Shopping Tips To Be Smart, Safe, And Savvy

santa doing his online shoppingHow will you do your shopping this season?

If the statistics are correct, most of us will be doing it with a computer, a mobile phone, alongside a pen and paper. When it comes to window shopping, most people no longer have a night out at the mall. Nearly 70% of people say they now do their browsing online.

Cyber Monday was invented in 2005, but let’s be real.. we’re “cyber” 24/7 and can do our shopping from a phone now. No matter how convenient it becomes, we still need to bring along our common sense and remember these basics when getting the Ho ho holiday shopping done.

Update your software
There are security holes in browsers found and fixed all the time. If you just use your computer as is, you need to make sure you update your software. It’s easy to find in your preferences, and Microsoft recommends setting defaulting to automatic updates. For example, one was just found in Internet Explorer 9 and is a critical patch especially if you’re online shopping.

Use trusted sources
It’s very easy to add e-commerce to a website so make sure you know who you’re dealing with. If you’re a little wary, trust your gut. Look for a phone number and call and speak with someone. Look for a web address that starts with https, or a lock and key symbol in the browser bar before you put your credit card number.

Know your rights
In some jurisdictions, if you buy online and you do not receive your product as promised within 30 days, you are allowed to cancel the purchase and you are entitled to a refund. Check with your credit card company to find out how you’re protected against fraudulent charges.

Watch for shipping charges and times
A lot of commercials you may see online will talk about free shipping and the like – but there are exceptions to every rule, especially if you’re using an international seller. Be sure to factor in the shipping charges, and the length of time it will take to arrive when you’re deciding what to buy. (This is especially important with sites like Etsy where you’re dealing with individuals instead of big companies like Amazon).

A big thanks to Citi Price Rewind for sponsoring this campaign. Click here to see more of the discussion

Image Credit iStockPhoto

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