Safe online shopping practices

Published 10:30 pm Monday, July 16, 2018

Today is Amazon Prime Day, one of the busiest online shopping days of the year. Not only does Amazon offer deals, but so do other retailers as they try to keep up with Amazon’s sales.

We all know at least one person who gets excited about online shopping deals and has strong opinions on free shipping.

According to a 2016 Pew Research student, eight in 10 Americans are now shopping online. Fifteen percent of Americans buy something online every week.

While there are many advantages to online shopping, such as not having to leave the house, avoiding lines and the overall convenience, shopping online can also be dangerous.

Personal information can be stolen and your computer can catch a virus if you aren’t careful. According to Consumer Reports’ website, giving credit card information on an unsecured connection is dangerous.

Make sure the retailer’s web address starts with “https” and that there is a locked padlock on the browser’s status bar. According to Consumer Reports, beware of online shopping if you’re using a Wi-Fi hotspot or a public computer.

Fake retailer websites exist to steal identities or even credit card information.

Some even sell counterfeit goods.

According to Consumer Reports a good practice is to look up websites at the Better Business Bureau website at

Check the company’s rating, reviews and ensure that it has an address.

Use a credit card instead of a debit card and read the websites conditions carefully, according to Consumer Reports. While it’s tempting to accept terms and conditions, and then impulse buy something, the items aren’t going anywhere.

Lastly, be careful of sites where you meetup with strangers to exchange goods for cash in person.

The safest place to prevent yourself from being a victim of robbery by snatch is to meet at local law enforcement parking lots.

If the buyer or seller doesn’t want to meet there, don’t go through with it.  The Troup County Sheriff’s Office has advertised its parking lot as a safe space to complete online purchases.  Remember, it’s better to be safe than sorry. It’s convenient to shop online, but make sure to do your homework first.