Top Online Shopping Tips: A PSA from Santa

Published on Wednesday, October 26, 2022 in Internet Safety

Do you think Santa Claus gets stressed around the holidays? Even the jolliest of us must feel the impending time crunch of family gatherings and Christmas shopping, right?

Whatever he feels, one thing is for sure: he can’t do it alone. Each year he counts on you, his Christmas elves, to find the best deals on the hottest items of the year. To make your lives easier, he’s asked his loyal helpers here at MEC to pass along this online shopping PSA.

#1: Make Sure the Site is Secure

When you visit a website, look to the left of the URL. If the site is secure, you’ll see a small lock icon. This means your information (like passwords and credit card info) is private when it’s sent to this site.

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You should also watch out for misspellings or incorrect domains. Scammers sometimes set up fake websites that look like the real thing – don’t be fooled!

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#2: Verify the Brand

If you’ve never heard of a brand, do some research before you buy. Shady third-party sellers can pop up even on trusted sites like Amazon or Walmart. If you buy from one, you might find your product has an unexpected “cheap” feel, or that it’s not quite the product you thought you were getting.

#3: PayPal is Your Friend

If the site you’re buying from accepts PayPal, you can make a purchase without giving the seller any of your financial info. PayPal handles the transaction for you. Click here to learn more.

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#4: Don’t Recycle Your Passwords

It’s tempting to keep using the same password for every site – but that makes it very, very easy for hackers to get into your accounts. Switch up your passwords to keep your online accounts secure, especially when your financial information is involved.

Click here for our guide to creating a secure, effective password collection.

#5: Compare Prices

Don’t buy from the first listing you see. Different retailers sometimes sell the same product at different prices. Sites like Google Shopping or Honey can help you find lower prices or deals elsewhere.

#6: Find Deals Beyond Black Friday

Saturday, Nov. 25, is Small Business Saturday, a day when shoppers around the U.S. support their favorite small and local businesses. Shopping online doesn’t mean you’re tied to Amazon — click here to start finding participating businesses near you. Some of them may even have their own online storefronts to order from.

On Tuesday (Nov. 28), don’t forget about your favorite charities. Giving Tuesday is a day to give back. It’s also known as Travel Deal Tuesday because many airlines, hotels, and other travel brands post offers online.

Buying Used Electronics?

As always, there are a few extra things to be aware of when it comes to technology. Click here to learn more.