Tech Expert Offers Five Tips for Secure Online Shopping

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As 2011 sets all-time online shopping record, some shoppers remain in the dark about safe online shopping practices. Tech expert Josh Lee provides five tips for ensuring security.

Anyone who thinks online shopping is a mere flash in the pan is surely mistaken. According to a December 2011 report from Web Pro News, 2011 set the all-time record for highest volume of online shoppers at the holiday season, something the report attributed to the comparative ease of shopping apps compared to the hassle of shopping mall crowds. E-commerce is not going anywhere, yet many consumers are still unsure of how to ensure online security. According to IT professional Josh Lee, of the Portland-based company Pro Tech, safe shopping is just a matter of ensuring full knowledge of seller policies, and full privacy of personal details.

“Online shopping really is safe, if one knows how to do it cautiously,” observes Lee, whose work involves installing e-commerce systems for small businesses. “The important thing is knowing who one is really buying from, and how much one is really paying, ultimately.” Lee offers five tips for safe online shopping.


Says Lee, “Knowing everything one needs to know about the company one is buying from is the single most important step there is.”

1. Look for a BBB seal of approval: This is less a concern when it comes to giants like, but, for smaller sites, look for some visible stamp of authenticity.

2. Use credit, not debit: A debit card will provide an online merchant access to your bank account information, while a credit card is ultimately much safer.

3. Know the company’s return policy: Become familiar with all of its details before purchasing, including any return deadlines.

4. Look at the privacy policy: Know what information is going to be stored, and how it is going to be used.

5. Be aware of the actual cost: Make sure to notice shipping and handling fees, as well as sales tax.

Lee says that most companies are straightforward about their policies on all of these matters. “The customer should be concerned when a website does not provide any information about privacy, returns, and so forth,” he cautions.


Josh Lee is an IT professional and e-commerce expert who works at Portland’s Pro Tech, assisting small businesses with implementing e-commerce software.


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Micheal McGarity
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