Shopping Online - How Safe Is Online Shopping?

When you first make a purchase online there will be certain security questions you will need answers too. Is shopping online secure, is one question which gets asked over and over again by those considering making a purchase. In this article I hope to touch on a few of these security doubts, such as:

1. How Secure is Shopping Online?
2. Is your Online Retailer Reputable?
3. How can I tell if a web page is secure?
4. Determine the Returns Policy?
5. Product Authenticity when Shopping Online.

1. How Secure is shopping online?

This article will discuss some of these questions in an effort to help readers make informed decisions regarding online shopping. Online shopping is as safe as you make it. What I mean by that statement is that you must do some homework on who you purchase from. That doesn't mean you have to go through loads of good guy bad guy reports, it means that you have to tread carefully and be aware that there are some dodgy dealers online waiting to gain possession of your bank details, which will arm them with the information they need to rip you off. Be aware of dodgy dealers and unbelievable bargains. Most reputable online retailers will have security measures in place. You will find a couple of ways to check these measures further in this article.

2. Is your Online Retailer Reputable?

When new to online shopping, determining whether an online retailer is reputable should be your first consideration, before deciding whether to make a purchase. One easy method to check out the reputation of a retailer is to consult the Better Business Bureau or BBB for short. Here you can search a comprehensive database of BBB Reviews, using various methods of retailer id. Such as:

* Business or Charity Name
* Type of Business
* Type of Charity
* Website URL
* Phone Number
* Email Address

You can use a location to centre your search on a specific region by adding "City and State" or "Postal Code" when searching by type of business. You the shopper can find information regarding previous complaints against the online retailer; this information will help you to determine whether the retailer has a good or bad reputation and whether they deal fairly with customers.

Online retailers who have been in business for a few years and do not have many complaints against them can generally be trusted. This will usually be the larger online companies; you may pay a little more for your chosen item, but you will have the security of knowing your purchase will be delivered, and on time.

3. How can I tell if a web page is secure?

Identity theft can cause tremendous problems for online shoppers; the security of the server used to complete your purchase should be questioned. A very simple way in which an online shopper can determine whether or not the website is secure is to examine the web address in the top of screen address bar. Once you login to a website to actually make a purchase A secure website will have a prefix of https://, note the "s" at the end, an unsecured website will have a prefix of http.

You can test this by visiting a security site called (ssl.com. Prefix with www.). Note the URL in the address bar begins with the "http" meaning this page is not secure. Now click the link in the upper-right hand corner to "Log in". You will notice a change in the URL. It now begins with "https", meaning any sensitive information such as your user name and password, typed in, will be encrypted before being sent to the server.

Another standard among web browsers is to display a "lock" icon, somewhere in the window of the browser. For example, Microsoft Internet Explorer displays the lock icon in the lower-right of the browser window: If the website is not secure the online shopper should check out customer reviews on the chosen retailer website or consider making your purchase through the customer service department of the retailer.

4. Determine the Returns Policy?

By reviewing the returns policy of a retailer will also give the shopper a good indication of whether the seller is simpathetic to customer problems. Restrictive Return policies should be considered suspect by the shopper, this may indicate a need for the shopper to do some additional research before deciding whether to purchase from a particular internet retailer. Again check out previous customer reviews; where there are no reviews could be another indication for caution.

5. Product Authenticity when Shopping Online:

Authenticity of products purchased is another consideration for the online shopper. This is important because, it can help to prevent the shopper from purchasing replica items, or items that are very similar but with the same name and title of the item you are seeking. Verifying authenticity is not usually a problem when purchasing from a retailer who is licensed to sell the item. However, problems may arise when the shopper is buying an item through an auction website, an individual retailer, or the item is such an incredible bargain as not to be believed. This ability to spot authentic items usually comes from researching the items well and being aware of the key features, or by ensuring you use an extremely popular retailer.

Traditional Stores Offering Online Shopping:

Many of our every day traditional stores, can also have an online presence. This includes retailers of all types of products such as electronics and home appliances and general merchandise stores offering a wide range of consumer products. Another benefit of online stores is that they are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week; this gives the online shopper the flexibility to do their shopping from the convenience of their own home. This eliminates the necessity of travelling to the stores, parking close to the store, struggling with holiday shopping crowds and of course carrying your purchases around whilst looking for other items to buy. Another advantage of shopping in online stores over traditional stores is you can visit online retailers which do not have a traditional store located near your home.

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