If you are looking for a gift for someone and you want to purchase it right away, then you can either travel all the way to your local mall or simply stay home and shop online.

Shopping online for gifts is a great way to save money and as well as time that you would spend in the local mall. You will skip the long line at the payment counter, have no parking problem if you drive yourself and also be safe from being the target of pick-pockets.

Even though online shopping is convenient, but there are some precautions that we all need to take to safeguard hard-earned money while paying using credit or debit cards. Below are some tips that will help you shop safely online:

8Computer security

source: online.stanford.edu

Keep all security software installed and updated on your computer.  Scan your computer regularly to keep it clean from viruses and malware that can hack data from your computer.

7Don’t use Public Computer

Always shop using your personal home computer. Do not use computers at public places like airports or a cyber cafe for doing any financial transaction. The networks are open and very much easy for hackers to access the computer.

6Be wary of what you click

source: rmflight.com

You receive an email from one of the reputed stores with a coupon code to redeem online. Before you click on any link in that email, have you checked to see that if that email is actually sent by the store? Emails from scammers will look very real and convincing.

But when you take the mouse pointer over the link, it will show you a different website URL or address. Even if you actually do click on the link, you will be surprised to see that it will take you to another site that is the exact duplicate of the real store site.

Once you purchase from the fake site and enter payment details like your credit card number etc., the scammers will get all the information to use.

5Do you know the store?

The biggest advantage of online shopping is that you can compare the price of the product and get the best deal. Sometimes the price difference can be big and at times negligible.

But it’s just not the best deal or lowest price that matters; it’s also the reputation of the store from where you plan to shop on the basis of the price and deal found. If this is the first time you have come across the online store, then it will be a good idea to browse through online reviews to get a fair idea if the store is trustworthy and reputed or not.

Using market place like Amazon.com is also a way to be sure that the store is the right one to shop from.

4Look for the lock

source: affiliatemarketingmastermind.net

The first thing that you should look for in a store website is the secure sign. A simple website address will generally start with “http:” but if a website is a store that sells products and has payments processing then the website address should start with “https:” and there should be a lock sign before it. The extra “s” indicates that the website is secured for online shopping. Once you are over with shopping, do not forget to log out.

3Do not store payment details

Never store payment details with the website. Usually, the store will ask for permission to save details for easier future purchases, the permission will be in the form of a pop-up box or a check-box.

If the website is new to you and you do not plan to shop from it regularly then don’t store any such details.

2Know what you are actually paying

source: americanpressinstitute.org

Be sure what you will be paying during the final checkout. There are many extras like taxes and fees that can add up to a lot on the final payment. Look for free shipping deals as this will help you save a lot.

Some stores will also give free coupons that can save you money. You can visit here for some offers and coupons from reputed stores. Check for all these and see which store can save you the maximum.

1To use Credit Card or Debit Card

Try using a Credit Card instead of a Debit Card for online shopping payments. In the event of a fraudulent charge, as per federal law, the maximum amount that you will have to bear is $50. There are some credit card providers that will even waive this totally. As for Debit Card, payment once made is equivalent to cash paid.

To summarize, shopping online can be both great and as well as secure if you know what you are doing. Shop with peace of mind following the tips above.

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