With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing many of our favorite retail locations to close their physical doors, online shopping has become a necessary convenience for many of us. According to Statista.com, 75% of people shop online at least once a month. But before you click Add to Cart, review these security tips for online shopping, plus a few extra online shopping tips and tricks, to make sure you’re being a smart shopper.
Tips to Stay Safe When Shopping Online
There are lots of opportunities to accidentally get taken advantage of online. Be vigilant and follow these tips:
- Don’t shop from a public wi-fi. Only use a secure connection to protect your information. Also, never save your payment details on a shared or public device.
- Beware of sites with rock-bottom prices. If it looks too good to be true – it probably is. Many sites look like real shopping sites but are set up to steal your information. Only shop from sites you trust.
- After making a purchase, screenshot your order details and save that screenshot in an album or in the Notes app on your phone. This will ensure you keep track of your purchase details and always have them on hand should any issues arise.
- Use a credit card for online purchase. You are protected under the Fair Credit Billing Act (link to https://www.ftc.gov/enforcement/statutes/fair-credit-billing-act) and credit cards are safer for e-commerce purchases.
Tips to Save Money When Shopping Online
Smart and savvy shoppers know to browse around for the best prices. Here are a few ways to make sure you’re getting the best deal:
- Install Honey, a browser extension for Chrome that searches for coupon codes and automatically applies them to your cart.
- Search online coupon sites like Retail Me Not for relevant coupon codes.
- Clear your cookies and browsing history and re-visit the website you’re about to make a purchase from. Websites will often have pop-ups with discount codes for first-time visitors. But know that clearing those cookies will also clear out your shopping cart.
- Try leaving items in your cart for about 24 hours. Some sites will email you a coupon code to incite you to finalize that purchase.
- Did your coupon expire two days ago? Try contacting the site’s customer service line to see if they will extend it. It never hurts to ask, right?
Shopping online doesn’t have to mean abandoning your local small businesses. Being intentional about supporting local businesses is crucial during these times. Shopping local is a way to nurture the community you love, and it helps preserve your tax dollars.
- Check your local Chamber of Commerce website for a list of retail businesses and their websites and commit to buying from them.
- Skip the shipping fee! Many retail locations are now offering buy-online/in-store pickup options, as well as home delivery.
- If you’re an Alabama Farmers Federation member, you have access to not only hundreds of national perks and discounts but plenty of local perks as well. Find out what perks are local to you and take advantage of those savings!