Monthly Archives: August 2018

Safe Online Shopping

You need to buy gifts for the holidays and you need to purchase them quickly. You can either brave the madness of shopping at your local mall or kick back at home and buy all your gifts online. Doing your holiday shopping online can be a great way to save time while you find the right gifts at the best price. You’ll skip the parking lot wars, avoid getting the flu from your fellow shoppers, and stay out of pick-pockets’ crosshairs. But though it may be easy and convenient to shop in your pajamas, you still need to take precautions to make sure your electronic ‘purse strings’ are safe and secure. Here are some simple tips for safe online shopping:

Secure your computer. Make sure your home computer has updated security software installed, and run regular system check to keep hackers’ keylogging viruses away.

ONLY shop from home. Don’t do your online shopping from the local cafĂ©, the airport or other public places. These open networks are easier targets for identity thieves to hack into your computer. Only shop from your secured home network.

Click carefully. Your favorite store just sent you a great coupon! But wait! Before you click on email links, be sure of where they lead. Scam emails can look just like the real ones from your favorite stores, with links that appear to take you to legitimate sites. But hover over the link and you may see a different web address – this could be a fake site, designed to gather your credit card information for fraud. Your safest bet is to manually navigate to your favorite retailer’s website.

Know thy merchant. One of best parts of online shopping is easily comparing prices to find a great deal. You may find the gift you want for half the price – but make sure the merchant is reputable and trustworthy. If you haven’t done business with a merchant before, look for online reviews. Using aggregators like Amazon.com and Yahoo Shopping is another good way to make sure your merchant doesn’t take you for a fraudulent sleigh ride.

Lock down your site. When you visit a retailer’s website, look for “https” at the beginning of the URL. This “s” – along with a small gold lock in the lower-right corner of your browser – indicates an extra level of security for your online shopping.

Log out. Always logout securely when leaving a website.

Check if your payment details are stored. Some online shopping sites ask if you want to store your payment details for future purchases. It’s always handy to have your information stored, especially if you use that site often. But, watch out for this on lesser-known websites.

Compare ‘real’ prices. Make sure you know how much you will be charged for shipping, and if there are any taxes or fees that will be added to your online purchase. These ‘extras’ can add up quickly, so be sure you include them when comparison shopping. Many retailers offer free shipping around the holidays, and others allow free in-store pick-up of your online purchases – easy ways to add extra savings to your holiday shopping.

Know the Return Policy. Read the merchant’s return policy before making your purchase. One of the downsides of online shopping is the inability to ‘try it on’ or see the item before purchasing, so make sure your merchant offers you an easy way to return/refund your purchase if it’s not what you expected.

Choose Credit – not Debit. If possible, use a credit card to pay for online purchases. Federal law limits your liability to $50 in the event of fraud. Better yet, many credit card companies will waive this liability, and offer advanced fraud protection and detection programs to keep you safe.

Keep an eye out. If you are doing a lot of online shopping, make sure to check your account and credit card statements regularly to verify all charges. If you have questions about a transaction or suspect fraud, call your financial institution immediately.

Save your Receipts! Just as with in-store shopping, you’ll want to save all your receipts from online shopping. You may choose to save emailed receipts on your computer, or print them out and file with other receipts.

The bottom line! You can take advantage of the Internet’s great shopping opportunities and still have peace of mind!

Shopping Online?

Online shopping is booming as more consumers take their business to e-tailers (electronic retailers) instead of the brick and mortar stores. After conducting a survey, the National Retail Federation estimates that approximately 52 million people, or 37% of shoppers, surf the web for the best deals. This number is continually growing as more products become available online and people gain confidence in shopping online.

Though some people are still unsure of giving their credit card numbers in exchange for merchandise over the Web, the Internet is a relatively safe place to shop due to improved technology and e-shopping savvy consumers. Here are a few tips to keep you, your computer and your bank account protected while you shop online.

  • Don’t Give Out Your Personal Information

Legitimate online retailers will never ask for your social security number at any time. Don’t give it to retailers—if someone requests it, contact the company.

  • Arm Your Computer

You can protect yourself as you shop online simply by installing some basic security programs on your computer including anti-spyware, anti-virus and pop-up blocker programs. This software will keep your financial information and passwords safe and out of the site of cyber thieves and hackers.

  • Use a Credit Card

Credit cards are easy to use online-just enter the credit card name, number and expiration date. There’s another important reason to use a credit card, if fraud occurs or you don’t get the product that you purchased, you can dispute the charges. However, if you use a money order or debit card, the money is usually gone without dispute.

  • Read the Fine Print

Whenever you shop online, read the fine print carefully so there are no surprises. Make sure you’re aware of shipping charges, delivery time, cancellation and return policies, as well as the seller’s privacy policy.

  • Don’t Respond to Unsolicited eMail

Never buy things or confirm your billing information through an unsolicited email, especially if you don’t recognize the source. Legitimate online retailers will never ask for your credit card number through an email. If you receive an email of this type, contact the company immediately.

  • Ensure the Connection is Secure

When you click to purchase an item online, your browser connection should become secure. Look for two signs: the site address should read https or shttp instead of http, indicating a secure connection, and small lock should appear in the browser toolbar.

  • Research Unknown Retailers

If you’re not familiar with the retailer, do some research before entrusting them with your credit card. Make sure they have a phone number and a mailing address. You may want to call them before making a purchase. You can also research the company on TRUSTe, Verisign and BBBOnline (Better Business Bureau).

  • If it Appears Too Good to be True, it Probably is

Use your intuition. If you come across a retailer that has a product priced substantially lower than other retailers, or offers an online coupon that gives an unbelievable discount, use caution. Website retailers have to make their money somehow. Read their privacy policy, make sure they aren’t selling your personal information and take the extra steps to ensure the company and product are valid.

With a few simple precautions, online shopping can save you time, money and keep you, your money and your information 100 percent safe.

Tips for Shopping Online for Clothing

As many women would say, shopping for clothes can be lots of fun! We’ve all had our doses of retail therapy in the past… and with the vast selection available online to us ladies, shopping for clothes on the Internet can be even more fun.

Shopping on the Internet however can be a tricky business, especially if we do not take our precautions and make sure everything is in order. One need not fear though! With a little care shopping online can be a breeze! This article will walk you through ten tips, which if followed correctly, should help make your online shopping experience a safe and satisfactory one!

1. Although shopping for clothes online is a fun experience, it might prove to be a little bit tricky at first because you cannot actually go into a changing room and try on the items before buying them! If you find yourself wanting to buy from a new store, one which you have never bought from before, you might be a little unsure about the size to choose. Most reputable online fashion store do have size guidelines which you should definitely consult to help you choose the right size; however what I suggest doing is the following. When buying items online from a new store take it easy: buy one item first! Once the item arrives you would have an idea whether you have made the right choice, or maybe you need a smaller or larger size. That one item will give you an idea of the sizing of the particular store, so after having ‘tested’ the sizing go ahead and buy more!

2. I like to describe the feeling I get of a website as the same feeling I get when I meet a new person. There is usually either good chemistry or otherwise. It’s really the same with website and online stores. What kind of feeling do you get of a website? Does it look professionally done? Does the design and navigation make your online shopping experience easier… or is it terribly difficult to find what you’re looking for? Is there an ‘About Us’, or a ‘Company Info’ page? These elements usually give you a general feel for a website, and give you hints on whether to decide either to trust the website enough to purchase from it, or move on.

3. Whilst browsing around the website, look out for signs and logos which may indicate certificates of security and reliability which the website might hold. Common names to look out for are VeriSign and BBB.org (Better Business Bureau).

4. Before actually making the purchase take a note of the websites customer service email and/or telephone number. Making sure that you have somewhere to refer to queries to should you need to, before actually making the purchase, will help you put your mind at ease.

5. Check the store’s privacy policy and customer service page before making the purchase. It is important that you are aware of the store’s return policies, delivery charges and shipping times.

Mother and Baby Book Shopping Online

One of the best reasons to shop for mother and baby products online clothes is that generally speaking you can get much better deals on things that are often, otherwise, quite expensive on a shop. Not to mention the fact that you’ll have more time free to enjoy with your baby, instead of trying to navigate shop aisles with a baby pram. The Internet is a great library, full of all the famous baby books you already know about, and many undiscovered gems as well.

Mother and Baby Bestsellers

Some books seem to be on the bookcases of every parent and future parent, and so they are really easy to find online shop on marketplaces such as Amazon or Barnes and Noble, just to name a couple. If you want to cut down on the prices you may want to look for second hand books, but unless you know the information is not going to significantly change try to stick with the most modern editions or you may be reading things that have been proven false in later years. If you know your friends are looking for gift ideas for you and the baby consider creating a wish list on one of those sites, and let everybody know where it is so they can buy the books you like.

Digital Editions

If you have an eBook reader able to cope with books filled with pictures of beautiful babies and graphics of all types about pregnancy and babies you may prefer to just access marketplaces such as the above mentioned retailers or even iTunes to get instant access to your favourite mother and baby books. This can be a great option if you are looking to buy a lot of books and lack the money or the space to actually store them on your home, as digital editions are often cheaper or come with added bonuses such as media, in the form of videos or even interactive applications.

Independent Publishers

If you know of a particularly knowledgeable baby expert or the bestselling books just don’t do it for you, there are a myriad of independent publishers and authors writing about their own experiences and producing quality work that may give you a new view on many mother and baby subjects. Self-publishing platforms such as Smashwords or the Amazon Kindle could be a great place to start, but make sure to read reviews to ensure the books are indeed as good as the author claims.

Shopping Online for Hot Infomercial Products

About 30 years ago, someone had the idea that we would sit in front of our TV and shop. Turns out they were right. Ever heard of HSN or QVC?

Then someone else had the idea that we would buy a product after watching a quick 30-second pitch on TV. Ever heard of Billy Mays, Ron Popeil, Chef Tony or Debbie Meyer? These guys & gals helped turn infomercial products into a $100 billion industry.

Shopping online for hot infomercial products today is easier than ever, but in some cases it can be just as big a hassle as calling that 800-number & waiting several weeks for delivery. But the convenience of shopping online in the virtual world is not always perfect either.

Here are 5 tips to avoid hassles & surprises when shopping online for hot infomercial products:

SHIPPING TIME: When purchasing infomercial products from TV, shipping time still seems to be the #1 complaint. Waiting 4 – 8 weeks for delivery is not unusual. Buying online can speed up the shipping time, but that’s not always the case. Most legitimate online vendors will proudly post their shipping policies for you to see. Take the time to read & investigate those shipping policies before ordering from any website. In reality, unless a product is back-ordered or out of stock, you shouldn’t have to wait any longer than two weeks.

CHECK YOUR BUGGY: Telephone operators for infomercial products are very well-trained in the art of up-selling. Upgrades, additional add-on items & even magazine subscriptions have become typical. That $20 item you called for could turn into a $60 or $80 charge in a hurry. And good luck if you have a change of heart & want to adjust your order. Shopping online has the obvious benefit of avoiding these telemarketing professionals & taking control of the buying process. But you should still make sure you carefully examine both your shopping cart & your final invoice for things you didn’t throw in the buggy.

AVOID ROGUE WEBSITES: Unfortunately, this is the down-side to online shopping. Whether you’re shopping for infomercial products or underwear, the virtual online world is always going to present this risk. Before buying from a website, dig deeper into the site to find out who you’re dealing with. Is there a phone number available for you? Do you see a physical address anywhere? Look for a Site-Security Seal. And if the site doesn’t look professional, it probably isn’t. It’s only fair to know who you’re dealing with & how to get in touch with them.

PROTECT YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION: Some infomercial companies out-source their call-center activities to companies whose policy is to collect & sell personal information. It isn’t unheard of in the online world either. Make sure you review the company’s “Privacy Policy.” And if one doesn’t exist, click away as fast as you can. A good practice is to look for a “site-security seal” from a reputable company. This seal is like an insurance policy in the event of a security breach.

DON”T BE FOOLED BY CONVENIENCE: The last time I tried to order an infomercial product from an 800-number, it took 45-minutes for one simple purchase. The convenience factor is always going to tip in favor of shopping online. Just a few clicks and you’re out the door with no pushy sales clerk or operator to occupy your time. Shopping online puts the customer in charge & that’s always a plus. But, just because it’s convenient, don’t let that stop you from making sure you’re buying from a company that respects you as a customer & wants you to come back, just like the store on Main Street.

BOTTOM LINE: When you’re shopping online for that hot infomercial product, take just a minute to research the website. Review their shipping policies, make sure the website is legitimate & check for their Privacy Policy before even thinking about buying. Because, as they say, “a smart shopper is always a happy shopper.”