Saturday, November 27, 2010

Online Shopping Safety Tips

After dealing with the crowds in the stores shopping for great deals on Black Friday, many people have sworn off the brick and mortar stores in favor of online shopping.  Others will be searching for specials on "Cyber Monday" to complete their Holiday gift shopping.

Cyber Monday is the Monday after Thanksgiving when most Americans return to work after the long Thanksgiving Holiday weekend. It is the day when stores generally have their best online special deals.

We all know the precautions to take when shopping at the local malls -- carefully secure your credit card after making a purchase, put your wallet in an inside pocket, don't carry your purse loosely, be aware of your surroundings when walking to your car, have your car keys ready, don't leave your valuables unattended, etc.

Whether you have given up fighting the crowds and long lines in the brick and mortar stores or are just looking for online shopping bargains, safety precautions are also required when shopping online, whether it be Cyber Monday or any other day of the year.

Protect Your PC:

Before you start shopping, take care of basic security.  This includes having a software firewall and up-to-date antivirus and anti-malware software.
  • If your antivirus software license expired, either renew the license or uninstall it and download and install Microsoft Security Essentials.  (If the replaced antivirus was a "security suite", be sure to activate the Windows Firewall when uninstalling.)
  • Now run a full system scan with your updated antivirus software.
  • Next, scan with an anti-malware software.  If you do not have an anti-malware software, my favorite is Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware.  Another popular program is SUPER AntiSpyware.
  • Check for and install Security Updates.

Protect Your Credit:

Your computer is ready and so are you.  But, safety precautions do not end with your computer.  Now the onus is on you to protect your credit.
  • Shop at reputable websites.  If the offer sounds too good to be true, it is probably a scam. Customer evaluations are available at sites like or BizRate to help you determine the legitimacy of a company.
  • ONLY do your online shopping from home and never from an insecure public WiFi spot or public area like the local Starbucks.
  • To complete your purchases, checking out will require creating an account.  It is not advisable to store your credit card and other personal information on the website.
  • At checkout, the site web address should be https: and there should be a closed padlock there or in the lower right corner of your browser.  If not, forget about it.  You will be giving away your credit card information!
  • It is best to use a "true" credit card, rather than a debit card as it is better fraud protection.
  • At the completion of your order, print or make a screen copy, including the confirmation number, as a receipt for your purchase.

Finally, a couple of money-saving tips that may result in additional savings when you shop online.
  • Be wary of most of the "coupon sites".  However, there is at least one that I am aware of that appears to have a good reputation and is "McAfee Secure":
"Hundreds of well-known online stores like Barnes and Noble, Staples, and have a place within their shopping cart for a "coupon code" that gives a percent or dollar amount off your purchase. If you don't know the code, you can't take advantage of the discount. You can find these secret discount codes and coupon codes listed on many sites across the internet but the problem with these sites is that they're usually personal homepages and they don't maintain their lists! has a full-time staff of trained individuals whose only job is to find new coupon codes and discount codes and verify the accuracy of the existing database. We don't flood you with ads and we don't throw deals in your face. No hype, just current codes."
  • Check which includes special offers, including free shipping, at hundreds of online merchants.  On the actual Cyber Monday, the site will provide hourly specials and exclusives from popular online retailers.  A portion of the proceeds from supports the Ray Greenly Scholarship Fund.

Clubhouse Tags: Clubhouse, Microsoft, Windows, Security, Family Safety, Information, Online Safety,

Remember - "A day without laughter is a day wasted."
May the wind sing to you and the sun rise in your heart...


Abhishek said...

Very helpful writing for any level of user.

Tony Heywood said...

Thats a really useful set of tips. The number of people I know that don't update their security software is really worrying.

One thing I always look for from a small business is a postal address and phone number so I can double check their details via a Who Is look up.

The Know The Net site has lots of impartial useful information including Safe Online Shopping

Might be worth a look!

stephen said...

corine thank you for answering me this is stephen_s ,with the security essentials problem i discovered that a trojan virus was preventing me to lauch microsoft Security Essentials period and i was not able to down load bit defender either i had tryed that 3 times with no success finally widows liveonecare took care of the virus for me .now i'm affraid to use microsoft security essentials.

Corrine said...

Hi, Stephen.

You are very welcome!

I see you followed my advice in the MS Answers thread and scanned with Malwarebytes' Anti-malware. Excellent!

Corrine said...

Hi, Stephen.

If you are still having problems installing MSE, please register at LandzDown Forum and create a new topic there for help which I may be able to assist with logs since we don't analyze logs at MS Answers.

Online shoppen said...

Nice tips that surely helps many and saves them from loss.