How to Stay Safe When Shopping Online

Author: PeopleFinders on May 8th, 2019
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Scores of people make purchases online every day. E-commerce is thriving, and thousands of reputable businesses function solely online. Most of the time, you don’t have to worry about your online purchases.

Unfortunately, shady merchants are always lurking in the shadows. Online, it’s difficult to tell whether a company will deliver high-quality items, or if the items even exist in the first place. When you’re making a purchase, especially if it’s from a website or company that you’ve never used before, you need to take some safety precautions.

Keep these tenets in mind to prepare for potential online shopping scams:

Check Each Site’s Built-in Security Protocols

Reputable sites will always incorporate certain security protocols into their e-commerce payment options. These security protocols will help you feel comfortable providing your payment information.

When you’re shopping online, one of the most important things to pay attention to is SSL (Secure Sockets Layer). It’s easy to check. Most websites nowadays use SSL; when a website uses SSL to secure your information, the web address will start with “HTTPS,” and there will be a padlock on the URL bar. SSL is so widely used to provide basic safety to customers that many web browsers will actively warn you if a site’s SSL certificate isn’t available.

Another thing you can use to gauge trust in a company is to see whether it uses a third-party payment processor. Most websites outsource their payment service to a third party since setting up a payment service from scratch is difficult and expensive. Third parties will often provide more all-encompassing security when it comes to payments, and you can browse the payment company’s website for more information.

Research the Company

If other people have ordered from the company that you’re interested in buying from, you can be sure that they’re probably talking about it online. This can be as simple as short reviews written by individuals or as extensive as reputable sources doing full write-ups on larger companies. Either way, you’ll be able to find the public’s opinion of that company.

This is especially important if it’s a lesser-known brand. You’re likely to use the world’s most widely known sites without a second thought. Even if you’ve heard certain warnings about the company, you know that it’s accountable if you do experience an issue. That’s not necessarily true when it comes to smaller brands, and it’s better to be overcautious than not cautious enough.

A people search service can be invaluable here. You can look up a company’s phone number to try and make sure it’s actually registered to that company. If you come across conflicting reports, it may be a good idea to steer clear.

Keep an Eye on Your Personal Information

You should always monitor your personal information. But it’s especially important in the days and weeks following an online shopping purchase at a website you’re unfamiliar with. If it does turn out that the company has stolen your purchasing information, it’s important to catch it as soon as possible. Not only does that make sure that you address the concern immediately, but some banks and insurance companies will only cover the full cost of a scam if you report it right away.

PeopleFinders can help you discover if any of your personal information has been compromised. Simply perform a background check on yourself to get some insight into what portions of your online identity could use some work. Search every few weeks or so to make sure nothing’s changed. That way, you’ll be more ready to tackle any identity and private information issues that come your way.


Buying items online isn’t an inherently dangerous process. Millions of people purchase items online every day, and the majority of those items ship exactly as described. Especially as security procedures become stricter and safety measures keep improving, you can feel safe buying products online.

However, some online merchants are in place solely to defraud people out of money or steal their personal information. Even if you’re buying from a well-known site, ensure you’re taking proper precautions by utilizing the tools offered by PeopleFinders. In addition to ways to shop online more safely, stop by the PeopleFinders blog for even more ideas on how to stay safe in other parts of your life.

Image attribution: Ivan Kruk –

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Categorized in: Digital Identity