Internet Intel: Your Guide to Online Shopping During the Holidays

online_shopping

If you’re swamped finding holiday gifts, online shopping may seem like a dream come true. Buying online is quicker and more convenient, but it also carries a number of risks. To make the most of your online purchases, remember to…

Begin With A Budget
Even if you have money to spare, you should still set aside a specific amount to spend. A budget will protect you from a myriad of online shopping pitfalls, including:

  • Dubious Discounts – Online retailers often promote items as being “on sale,” but the “discounted” price is more than the ordinary price at other stores.
  • Contrived Connections – Many websites will show you a “people who bought this also bought…” list after each purchase. Without a clear sense of how much you’re willing to spend, you may fall down this rabbit hole and buy unnecessary items.
  • Meaningless Markups – Retailers often justify above-average prices by claiming that their products have superior feature. While this can be valid, it’s important to investigate the true value of those features before you pay a premium.



Don’t Give Out Data
Never trust a website that asks for your social security number, date of birth, or other personal information. No one needs this to complete a purchase, so if a store asks for it, it’s likely trying to steal from you. Regardless of the “great holiday deals” that store claims to offer, steer clear.

Be Vigilant of Viruses
An ounce of prevention outweighs a pound of cure, and this is especially true for computer viruses. The chaos of the holidays makes it easy to download viruses undetected. Keep your anti-virus software up to date, and stick to sites with recognizable brand names. The more obscure a website is, the more likely it is to harbor malware.

Appraise Your Accounts
Always end a day of shopping by checking your bank statements, credit cards, and other financial records. Look out for charges that you don’t remember authorizing or that are more expensive than you remember. If you see anything unusual, call your bank immediately; the sooner they’re aware, the easier it will be for them to cancel the charge and save your money.

Save On Shipping
Many sites offer free shipping if you purchase more than a certain amount. Consider this when deciding where to buy your desired gifts. Spending a little more to buy everything from one site may more than pay for itself if shipping is free.

Online shopping has its risks, but with the right guidance, it can be a fun and rewarding experience. The Cypress of Charlotte is committed to providing that guidance, helping our residents to live a fun, active, and safe lifestyle. To learn more about the Cypress community, visit our website or contact us today.