On December 4th, McAfee held a webinar called “Shop Safe. Shop Smart.” with Parry Aftab, McAfee’s Family Internet Safety Advisor, and Reema Shown, Director of Marketing from McAfee. For those of you who missed this informative session, Parry gave great gift suggestions as well as great shopping tips. If you have time, I suggest you log in to www.shopsafeshopsmart.com and listen to this tip filled podcast.
With the economy being what it is this season, everyone is looking to stretch their dollar further than before. If you are like me, you are one of the 44% of consumers who shopped online this holiday season. I find it so easy to shop in my pj’s, get a fantastic price and not have to worry about parking! I use common sense while shopping and that was Parry’s strongest message. I have compiled a few of her tips below.
TIP #1: Investigate the retailer’s website before you shop – check the online store for: company policies, contact information, a physical store address located near you or a address for a headquarters, reviews from other shoppers (either on the website or through opinion websites), do they have a phone number listed (for smaller retailers you could try calling them and ask a question about a product to ensure the number works)? etc.
TIP #2: Is it secure? Look for the ‘s’ in the web address ‘https’. Do they encrypt? Do they have the McAfee trustmark or other similar trustmark? Look for the trustmark so you know that the website is certified as a safe place to shop. You can find secure merchant websites by searching for brands or products at http://secureshopping.mcafee.com.
TIP #3: Use a credit card – Using a credit card gives you added security in case you don’t receive an item or it is not what you expect. Make sure you check statements for fraudulent charges. Parry gave a personal example of informing her credit card company about a fraudulent charge and a month later finding hundreds of charges for between $4 and $6 – her credit card number had been sold.
TIP #4: Comparison shop – The internet makes it simple to make sure you are getting a great price from a reputable dealer. Use websites like bizrate, shopzilla, yahooshopping, etc. to compare prices and make sure you check the stores ratings before you buy.
TIP #5: Avoid impulse shopping – Just like you shouldn’t go to the grocery store when you are hungry, don’t shop online when you are stressed, distracted, or tired. You may run into a couple of problems: Online scams and not sticking within your budget. It’s best to be alert when looking for good deals. When shopping at auction sites, set your limit and stick to it. Make sure to read the description thoroughly so you know exactly what you are buying and what the shipping charges will be. Be sure to check the seller’s ratings.
TIP #6: New Alternatives – Think about green alternatives such as donations, subscriptions and services rather than items that might end up in the landfill. One large item for the family may be a better choice than many small items.
To learn more tips about online shopping read the Do’s and Don’ts of Online Shopping eBook at www.mcafee.com/ebook.
Whether you shop early for the best choices or late for the best bargains… shop smart and shop safe this season. Happy Holidays!