Now more than ever, online shopping has become an essential in our daily lives. You don’t have to leave your house, the bargains are plenty, and shipping is fast and right to your doorstep.

Online shopping has never been easier or more convenient for consumers. However, for some, the thought of contactless shopping may still be a foreign concept or a bit daunting. So we’ve put together a few online shopping tips to help you along, making your shopping experience fun and, most importantly, secure.

Young African woman sitting on carpet shopping online.

Do your shopping in a safe space

Avoid doing your shopping in coffee shops or malls with public Wi-Fi. Fraudsters can intercept your connection and get hold of your usernames and passwords.

Look for the S

Never buy anything online from a site that doesn't have an SSL (secure sockets layer) encryption. If the URL for the site starts with “HTTPS” then you'll know if the site has SSL. Google has made HTTPS standard now, even on non-shopping sites, so Google Chrome will flag any page that doesn’t the extra S as "not secure."

Create a strong password

Using a strong password has never been more important than when shopping online.

Come up with unique passwords that do not include any personal information such as your name or date of birth. Make your password long, use a mix of characters (upper and lower case, as well as numbers and symbols) and avoid using sequential letters and numbers.

If this is too much for you, you can use a password manager to create and manage passwords for you.

Check the seller

Do your due diligence. Check out some online retailer reviews; make sure you've got a brick and mortar address and a working phone number for the seller. Find out if they provide tracking and insurance, what couriers they use, and be cautious of any item that won’t be shipped within 10 days. Make sure you feel comfortable with the companies before you give them your credit card number.

Ask for recommendations from friends and colleagues, and read online reviews to see if customers have enjoyed a safe shopping experience.

Check your bank statements

Lastly, check your statements regularly for any unverified transactions, as well as to ensure that no fraudulent charges are happening on your accounts.

Online shopping can be an enjoyable and convenient way to get great bargains from the comfort of your desk or couch. Follow your instincts - if it looks too good to be true, then it usually is. If you keep vigilant and protect your information, then you’re well on your way to becoming a savvy online consumer.

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