With so much of the world going digital, online shopping has quickly become the preferred method for purchasing goods for many people. Although this is often the easier route, it can also give way to more possibilities to create unhealthy financial habits and open you up to being a victim of fraud. Both of which can have negative long-term effects on your personal finances. Finding some self-discipline and learning about safety precautions to exercise when you do shop online are two good ways to protect yourself against the pitfalls of the online shopping arena.
Here are the ways
Utilize Third-Party Fact Checkers
If you are making a large purchase online, you will want to take some additional time to have all the details from the seller confirmed via a third party. For example, protecting yourself when purchasing a car from a private seller online, is a step you need to invest in. These third parties exist with the sole purpose of being able to showcase real data, and fact driven reports so that consumers know what they are getting into before they spend a large amount of money.
You can get Carfax reports for free by entering the VIN and your phone number and they will send you a SMS with a link to the Carfax and AutoCheck PDF files. Advertisements can be skewed to appear more attractive and generate more interest in the product, but something like a Carfax report cannot be manipulated by the seller. Seeking out this information is in your best interest since you can trust that reports you are given, are an accurate reflection of the car’s true details without any outside influence or opinion.
Site Safety and Personal Protection
Online shopping requires you to enter some of your most sensitive information into a website, and just trust that it will be protected. However blind trust like that can get you into hot water, so understanding the websites you are on and how secure they may or may not be will give you added security. Check the URL of the site before you purchase, if the address begins with ‘https:’ and not ‘http’ that is a good sign, that S tells you that the site is secured and encrypted and the information you enter will be protected. If you have an option to check out as a guest and skip making a profile with your information, do that.
However, if you do not have that option, when creating passwords for anything, make sure that they are unique and have combinations of characters, cases, numbers, and symbols. Strong passwords that are created to be individual and not reflective of any common information (birthday, last name, street name, etc.) are the toughest for online hackers to decode and then use to create a fraudulent situation. Make a habit of constantly checking your bank statements as well, track your purchases and be mindful of what is being authorized on your account. Using credit cards instead of debit cards whenever possible is advised, since credit cards do not give immediate access to your money like debit cards to.