Smart Guide to Online Shopping


Living in rural Idaho definitely has its perks. But let’s be honest – living near plentiful shopping malls isn’t really one of them.  Thankfully, we live in the “Communication Era” with access to millions of “e-tailers” just waiting for us to browse their store fronts with the tips of our fingers. Introducing: The World of Online Shopping. Let’s face it – with online shopping, the bargains are there, the selection is mind-boggling, and shipping is fast. And there’s never a better time to cyber-shop than during the holidays! That’s why we’ve created a list of smart shopping tips. To help keep you and your personal information safe as you brave the online stores this holiday season.

#1: Look for the Lock: Never ever, ever buy anything online using your credit card from a site that doesn’t have SSL (secure sockets layer) encryption installed—at the very least. You’ll know if the site has SSL because the URL for the site will start with HTTPS:// (instead of just HTTP://). An icon of a locked padlock will appear, typically in the status bar at the bottom of your web browser, or right next to the URL in the address bar (depending on your browser).

#2: Shop at Trusted Retailers: Every major retailer also has an online storefront. Plus, when you use a trusted retailer, such as, chances are it’s less likely to be a rip off. Even though the sales on other less-popular sites might look enticing, that may just be an old school trick: where scavengers really just want your personal info. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

#3: Be Careful How You Pay:  It’s always best to pay using a credit card since most major card companies provide some level of theft protection. Using e-pay services such as Paypal or Billpay is a good idea too. NEVER provide ANY personal information in an email.  Don’t provide your social security number or your birthday. Be suspicious if an online store asks for more information than is absolutely necessary.

#4 Inoculate Your PC: Swindlers don’t just sit around waiting for you to give them data; sometimes they give you a little something extra to help things along. You need to protect your computer against malware with regular updates to your anti-virus programs. Malwarebytes and Windows Security Essentials are just a few free options to consider.

So take advantage of the opportunities that online shopping can provide. Whether you’re joining in “Cyber Monday” or completely avoiding “Black Friday”, we hope you’ll find the perfect gift for that special someone. By keeping these simple shopping tips in mind, you’ll be able to search, browse, and click your way through the Nice List…with fewer worries. Now, are you ready? Get Set….SHOP!