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Top five ways to shop safely online
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- While a good bargain is always thrilling, safety is the most important thing to consider when shopping online.
Jamie Varner, an instructor for the Mississippi State University Extension Center for Technology Outreach, said it is better to be safe than sorry when shopping on websites.
“Safety is a concern whether we are driving our car or making purchases online,” she said. “Keeping your information secure online requires you to take more time and care, but what you lose in moments, you will make up for with peace of mind.”
Varner said consumers should follow five practices consumers when shopping online. They are the following:
- Always watch for phishing scams that attempt to obtain sensitive information. Avoid clicking links and attachments in unsolicited emails.
- Make sure the site is secure. The website needs to have a lock symbol in the status bar at the bottom of the web browser or right next to the URL in the address bar. The URL should always start with HTTPS.
- Never share personal information over email.
- Check statements online before receiving a bill to make sure there are not any fraudulent charges.
- Keep security software current.
Connie Templeton, an MSU Extension Center for Technology Outreach instructor, said always go to the store’s website to access its merchandise.
“If the site is not your usual store site, try to use a third-party payment system, such as PayPal,” she said. “Scammers are always looking for ways to trick you into giving additional or personal information.”
Templeton said fraud prevention is the key to safety when making purchases online.
“Follow your credit card, bank statements and email purchase confirmations to make sure you are not being charged twice for items or additional purchases,” she said. “Online shopping is very convenient, and it can be trouble-free if you follow these safety guidelines.”