The internet has certainly made our lives easier, but as we navigate our way through the new online way of doing things we need to be cautious, too. Shopping for clothes online means we have to be aware of some things we might normally not be in a store, but we’ve found some easy ways to protect yourself.
Online clothing stores are a great alternative for everyone, whether you’re too time poor to head to the mall, want a greater variety of clothes to choose from, or want to benefit from the discounted prices found online, there are certainly plenty of benefits. All of these advantages come at a price though, as it seems to be increasingly more difficult to keep yourself and your finances protected when you shop online.
These days, it’s fairly easy to see what stores are reputable and know whether or not they’re worthy of your business. But in addition to being aware of what’s out there, there are some simple things you can check off in your mind to ensure that you’re having the safest shopping experience possible at these online clothing stores. With eight out of 10 Americans now doing some form of shopping online, there’s never been a better time to get savvy.
Don’t Discount Insurance
This one will depend on what you buy obviously, but for items over $100 it might be worthwhile to look at insurance cover. Some stores will offer insurance protection and other times it may come from the freight carrier, and if not you will need to organize it for yourself. There are a number of things that can happen during transit and even the packing stages, so for a few dollars of protection you can keep your goods safe and guarantee that you won’t lose any money in the process. Remember, you don’t get to hold onto your clothes instantly like you do in a store, so you want something to protect them on their journey to you.
Keep Your Deliveries Safe
Not only is the online world a tricky place to maneuver when shopping for clothes online, but you then have to worry about once your packages arrive. Most people enter their address without a second thought, but there is little protection from your goods staying safe until you can get to them. Whether you’re not at home or at work for the day, an unsupervised package can be easily snapped up if it’s left there. Trying to track down a lost or stolen package can be near impossible, and you’ll likely just lose your money altogether. Think ahead and have your delivery sent to where you’ll be or ensure that you’ve selected the right option so that it’s not left out.
Trust Your Gut
Ecommerce stores usually put in a lot of effort to make their websites functional and well designed. If you’re shopping online and come across a site that looks suspicious or as if it hasn’t been designed very well, you should probably trust your gut. There are plenty of scams out there online and it’s easy enough to make a fake ecommerce store and list goods that you have no intention of selling. People can easily take your money or worse still, your bank card details, so you really need to trust your gut when shopping online. Look for obvious errors like spelling mistakes, links that don’t work, and a lack of reviews or feedback from previous customers.
Shop On A Private Connection
These days it’s common for people to connect to free Wi-Fi at their favorite restaurants and bars or use the internet connection at the mall. Although this is fine for everyday internet browsing, when you’re entering sensitive information like personal details and financial accounts you should never do shop on a public connection. Online shopping is best reserved for home when you know that you’re on a secure and private connection. It’s very easy for people to hack the phones and computers that connect to public Wi-Fi, so don’t put yourself at risk. When you do have to use your smartphone in public, be sure that you have an anti-virus or security app in place that can offer you some protection.
Keep An Eye On Your Financial Statements
One of the sneakiest ways that people target shoppers online is by using their credit card information. Rather than doing one huge purchase and making it obvious that your card has been stolen, though, they may slowly and discreetly take just small amounts of money at a time in the hopes that you wouldn’t notice. This type of behavior will add up to quite a bit for the thief and especially when they have multiple cards they’re taking money from. To protect yourself, you should check your online banking accounts at least once a week and make sure that you can account for every cent that’s been spent. If you do suspect anything, inform your bank and have your cards canceled and replaced.
Consider A Virtual Credit Card Number
People often assume that there’s only one way to shop for clothes online, and that’s to input their very private credit card number. For the purpose of a safe shopping experience, you should use another method when it’s available. If an online store doesn’t offer something like PayPal that will keep your details safe, you may be able to apply for a virtual credit card number. These work like temporary cards that will allow you to make one purchase, and then after a short amount of time they will no longer be valid. This means you buy just the one thing and even if someone gets hold of your card details, they won’t work after you’ve used them and will be virtually useless.
Avoid Links In Emails
Most of us are pretty well versed in how to detect a spam email these days, but occasionally they do slip by us. One of the most cunning ways that these spammers get your attention is to promote a sale or discount that’s happening, in the hopes that you’ll find the offer so attractive you’ll have no choice but to click through. If you do want to check out the store and what they have, do a quick Google search of the store and see if it’s legit. Clicking links that come through in an email can be dangerous as there’s no telling where they’ll lead you and whether or not it could be linked to a virus or malicious site.
Look For An HTTPS URL
One simple way to see whether or not you’re shopping safely is to inspect the URL of the store you’re at. Most standard websites will have an HTTP in front of the address, but sites that are secured will have HTTPS. The S stands for SSL or Secure Sockets Layer which means the information sent on the site will be encrypted, like credit card details. Another way to look for safety is to see if there’s a padlock icon down the bottom of the screen, with a closed lock meaning it’s okay to shop there. This applies to both mobile and desktop sites, so get into the habit of checking this every time you shop online or intend to input personal information.
Use Security Software And Updates
Any smart computer owner will have their gear protected, and this can be done with a number of software applications. Antivirus software is a must-have in this day and age but there are also other programs that can give you more protection. Shocking reports over the years have shown that almost a third of Americans have no antivirus software at work, and most people don’t have anything protecting their smartphones either. Not only is it essential to use these programs but you’ll have to keep them updated regularly, along with your computer’s operating system, so that they can give you up to date protection.
It’s one thing that nobody wants to do, and we’re all guilty of simply skimming through the text and clicking “I Agree” from time to time. When it comes to shopping online though, you really need to be careful about who you’re buying from and what they can do with your information. They may be able to sell your email address to marketers, or worse still you could be agreeing to give them your personal details and financial institution information. In cases where you’ve agreed to such behavior, you may have a hard time getting your money back if the worse should happen.