HOW TO SHOP SAFELY THIS HOLIDAY SEASON
The start of the holiday shopping season is upon us. If anyone is like me, I prefer to shop online, I get the ability to avoid the lines, parking lot space searching, and it seems that more and more stores don’t carry all products in the store, and need to order if for you anyway; so I end up spending all that time in the store just to have someone else order it online for me.
The downside of online shopping, is unlike brick and mortar stores where you can tell if a store is not a legitimate store that is trustworthy, we get drawn in with a special and the next thing we know our credit card is compromised, and our computer has a virus.
There are several ways to protect yourself while shopping online:
1. Know what website you are on. Check the URL and ensure that the site you are buying from is the site you expect it to be. http://Discount-target.comis not the same as http://target.com
2. Check that SSL is enabled when you are processing your checkout, all modern browsers turn the address bar green when there is a valid SSL certificate on the site. What a SSL certificate does is encrypt the data sent from your computer to the server.
3. Do not download programs to get coupons. We all like saving money, but any reputable website will not require you to install software on your computer to download a coupon or to view a coupon code. If you cannot resist, go ahead and install the program to print the coupon, but then uninstall it IMMEDIATELY.
There are several sites that I use to increase my discounts while shopping they range from easy to use to a bit more work is required. Also you may have different results than I do with these services.
· Ebates [http://www.ebates.com] With ebates you go to the ebates site first, or install an extension in your web browser, and when you checkout, you get a % credited to your ebates account, and each quarter you are mailed a check.
· There are three other sites that I trust to not lead me astray when looking for deals and coupons at online retailers they are: Retailornot.com FatWallet.com and swagbucks.com
If you feel that your computer might be infected with a virus, please stop using it and take it to a professional for a check-up. It is not worth having your financial information compromised to save a few dollars. If you do not have a local computer professional, please contact us and we will help you locate one.