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How to shop safely this Halloween?

7 Things you should do when shopping online this Halloween

Are you afraid of shopping online this coming Halloween? Even though there are many safety and security concerns when it comes to online shopping, it is safe and efficient, and it can be fun too if you know how to do it right.

7 tips for a better online shopping experience this Halloween

Shopping online is becoming more and more mainstream especially in many developed countries. Advances in technology, especially with regard to online security, have made it a much safer and easier option. Here are 7 tips on how you can shop smarter and safer online.
1. Make sure your connection is secure
This isn’t as hard as it sounds. You can do your own research regarding this but to make it easy and simple, remember these: First, reputable sites use Secure Socket Layer (SSL) technology that encrypts data. To know if the site you have accessed uses SSL, you should see a lock icon somewhere around (usually below) the web browser window. Second, secure sites usually have a web address (URL) that starts with “https.”

2. Research the sites where you usually shop
When shopping online for the first time, its best to begin shopping on websites of existing retail stores you already go to. If you want to purchase from online stores you don’t know anything about, do some research first. Check if the site has any certification from consumer protection organizations such as the Better Business Bureau and TrustArc. Their seals should be on the website of the online shop and these seals should be clickable and lead you to the organizations’ website. Also check if the online shopping site has an actual physical address listed rather than just a post office box. Last but not least, check out other customer reviews of the site. You can also try Google by typing the online shops' name and add the word reviews or scams to see if there is any bad press regarding the site.

3. Always make a comparison with other online shops
Similar to shopping at retail stores, always compare the prices and product features. This is easier to do when shopping online since you don’t have to run around from one store to another to compare. You just let your fingers do the checking. There are many sites that will actually do this for you such as Google Shopping, PriceGrabber, and Shopzilla. There are even sites that will show the best deals, sales, discounts, and coupons.

4. Be very careful of great deals
The phrase ‘if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is’ should always be remembered when shopping online. There are many scams on the internet and they will show the best deals, the best sales ever. If you find anything suspicious, Google it to know more. If you are still not satisfied, call the shop directly. If you are not 100% sure after your “fact-finding,” do not make any transactions. Better to be safe than sorry.

5. The devil is in the details
Even with reputable online shopping sites, check the details of the following:
a. Shipping Costs – Many offer free shipping which is good. Some have a higher cost for next day delivery compared to regular shipping, which could take several days.
b. Return and Refund Policy – When does the period for a return or a refund lapse? What is the procedure? Do you get a full or partial refund? Is shipping cost also refunded? These things, among others, should be clear in the online store’s policy.
c. Privacy Policy – This refers to how the site protects your privacy as a customer. If you purchase online, you have to give the site a lot of personal information. A good online shop should have a privacy policy that explains in detail how your information is used, secured and protected by the site.

6. Use credit cards or secure online accounts when paying
Most basic card merchants offer you an additional layer of protection whether buying retail or online. For example, you can question and hold payments for transactions which you may want to be canceled. The same may apply for certain online fund transfer accounts such as PayPal.

7. Keep transaction records
When purchasing online, always keep a record of your transactions. All legitimate sites include an option to print or send you a digital copy of your receipt or other proofs of your transaction. Most will also send you an email of your transaction so that you can confirm its validity.

There are several reliable online shops where you can buy trendy Halloween costumes.

If you're already using an international online account, just follow these simple tips and you are on your way to a safe, secure and enjoyable online shopping this Halloween.

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