How To Protect Your Identity When Shopping Online

Is the Online Shopping Secure?

You may be wondering whether or not online shopping is secure and you’re not alone because it’s one question which gets asked over and over again by those who are considering making a purchase online. Unfortunately there is no simple answer to your question which will apply to all of your online shopping situations. However, there is a list of questions that you can ask to assist you in determining whether or not it is safe to purchase the item you’re seeking online. A few of these questions deal with the online retailer’s reputation, the security of the server and the return policy offered on the items. This article will discuss some of these questions in an effort to help you make informed decisions regarding online shopping.

Is the Online Retailer Reputable?

Determining whether or not an online retailer is reputable should be the first step you take before deciding whether or not to make a purchase online from a particular online retailer. This is important because you are much more likely to be satisfied with a purchase from a reputable retailer than from an online retailer with a less than favorable reputation.

There are a few methods you can use to verify the reputation of the online retailer. Consulting the Better Business Bureau is just one of these methods which can be very beneficial to you the shopper. Here you can find information regarding previous complaints against the online retailer and can use this information to determine whether or not the retailer has a reputation for dealing fairly with customers. Online retailers who have been in business for a few years and do not have any complaints against them or have very few complaints against them can generally be trusted while you should be wary of online retailers who have many unresolved complaints against them or who have only been in business for a short period of time.

Is the Server Secure?

The security of the server used to complete your online purchase should also be questioned. This is a valid concern because identity theft can cause you a tremendous amount of problems. However, there is a very simple way in which you can determine whether or not the website is secure. Whenever submitting sensitive data such as credit card information you should carefully examine the web address. A secure website will have a prefix of https:// while an unsecured website will have a prefix of http://. If the website is not secure you should consider making the purchase by calling customer service instead of submitting the information via the unsecured website where it can be vulnerable to being intercepted. Or you can simply find another online retailer that is selling the same item using a secure server and purchase it through them.

What is the Return Policy?

Carefully reviewing the return policy of an online retailer can also give you a good indication of whether or not the seller is reputable. In general the return policies offered by online retailers should be very similar in nature to the return policies offered by traditional brick and mortar retailers with the exception of special provisions for handling the shipping of the product back to the retailer. Return policies which are unusually restrictive should be considered suspect and may indicate a need for you to do some additional research before deciding whether or not to patronize a particular online retailer.

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