How To Shop Online Safely | CloudSmart IT

How To Shop Online Safely

Holiday Season is nearly upon us! Not only is it the most wonderful time of year for shoppers, cyber criminals are lurking in the shadows and ready to strike at unsuspecting online shoppers. These guys are ready to steal your information and money with scams, fake websites, and more. Here’s a few ways on how to stay safe this online shopping season and also throughout the year.  

Be wise to your website address.

  • Be suspicious if a website looks just like one you’ve used in the past, but the website domain name or the name of the store is different. For example, you may be used to shopping at Amazon, whose website address is, but end up at a fake website that looks similar, but has the website address

  • When possible, purchase from online stores you already know, trust, and have done business with previously. Bookmark these online stores.

  • Be suspicious of ads or promotions on search engines or social media that are significantly lower than those you see at the established online stores. If a deal sounds too good to be true, it may be a scam.

  • Be careful with websites that have no way to contact them, broken contact forms, or use personal email addresses.

  • Protect your online accounts by using a unique, strong password for each of your accounts. Can’t remember all your passwords? Consider storing them all in a password manager.

Do you know of a website that sells third party items? Yes, that includes Amazon and many other large chain retailers. These  third-parties – different individuals or companies – might have fraudulent intentions. Such online destinations are like real-world markets, where some sellers are more trustworthy than others.

Here’s what you can do before making your purchase.

  • Check each seller’s reputation before placing the order by reading their reviews.

  • Be wary of sellers who are new to the online store, lack reviews, or who sell items at unusually low prices.

  • Review the online store’s policy on purchases from such third parties.

  • When in doubt, purchase items sold directly by the online store, not by the third-party sellers that participate in its online marketplace.

  • Even with legitimate vendors, be sure that you understand the seller’s warranty and return policies before you make your purchase.

After you’ve checked the website, and are confident that the purchase is safe to make, always check your credit card account to keep track of all purchases and to be aware of all charges. Use credit cards instead of debit cards for all online payments. And, if possible, enable the option to notify you by email, text, or app when a charge is made. If you find any suspicious activity, report it to your credit card company immediately.

Just because an online store has a professional look does not mean it’s legitimate. If the website makes you uncomfortable, don’t use it. Instead, head to a well-known site you can trust or have safely used in the past. You may not find that incredible deal, but you are much more likely to avoid getting scammed. No deal is worth the cost of knowing you’ve given your valuable money and personal information to a crook. Rather, experience the peace of mind you’ll get from being a smart online shopper.

Posted by: Marie Cronin

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