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Are You a Savvy Online Shopper?

online-shoppingWhile online shopping continues to grow in popularity, problems can arise. Here’s a multiple-choice quiz you can take to address your ability to navigate the net as safely as possible.

It’s essential to remember that protecting yourself and your financial details is just as important when shopping online as when doing so in stores; and it can sometimes be more complicated.

Think you know the best ways to protect yourself and your family against cybercrime, online fraud and identity theft? Take the quiz to find out how much you know (or don’t) about cyber security.

1. Can you safely shop at any retailer’s site on the Net?
a. They are like a store you walk into—you get a feel for the place as you browse.
b. It’s best to stick with known names.
c. If they have set up a site and are showing merchandise, they can be trusted.

2. What’s a great way to get lower-cost merchandise?
a. Regularly scour many sites for bargains, no matter how time consuming.
b. Check out consignment stores and online private shopping clubs.
c. Choose an item and keep an eye on it, knowing it will at some point go on sale.

3. How do you best avoid disappointment over what you bought?
a. It’s a given that you will be satisfied, especially if the merchandise came from a reputable website.
b. It’s a roll of the dice.
c. Read every last detail on the vendor’s product page.

4. Are reviews valuable tools because they are always on the level?
a. They’ve been vetted by the site, so they have to be on the up and up.
b. They can give you a feel for the product.
c. Be wary.

5. Does it matter what form of payment you use when buying online?
a. Just like regular commerce, it’s okay to use numerous payment methods.
b. Pay with a credit card.
c. Always use PayPal.

6. Is the receipt the vendor sends all you need for a successful transaction?
a. Yes, it contains all of the important information regarding your transaction.
b. No, you’ll need to print or save everything you are sent.
c. Just like regular retailers, trust they’ll keep everything you need on record.

7. What is Honey in the online world?
a. A new retail site.
b. A browser extension.
c. Encryption software.

8. Can you judge a merchant by its website?
a. Absolutely. If they have spent the money to design a terrific site, their merchandise and business approach must be equally good.
b. Probably. If their site is inviting, so should their merchandise.
c. A fancy website, while appealing, doesn’t necessarily mean the company behind it is.

9. Is the lowest advertised price always the best deal?
a. Watch out for shipping charges.
b. Absolutely, all prices are inclusive.
c. There may be taxes charged by one vendor and not another.


1. (b) When you are shopping online, information is passed between your computer and the shopping site. Only shop at sites that use secure technology. When information is passed between your computer and the shopping site’s server, it should be encrypted. This goes a long way towards preventing unscrupulous hackers from capturing your information during transmission.

2. (b) You don’t think of the online arena as having consignment stores, but they are out there. Sites like Zulily and Gilt Groupe are free to join, and are great resources for finding high-end items at discounted prices.

3. (c) Scour return, cancellation, and refund policies very carefully: make sure to look at the site’s home page and FAQs to see what methods of contact are available should an issue arise.

4. (c) Some rave reviews are planted by manufacturers or people they pay, while others are written by people with grudges.

5. (b) A credit card may offer more protection than other payment methods; you can dispute a charge if you don’t receive the item. Additionally, consider it a red flag if the site will only let you use PayPal or other less-traceable payment forms.

6. (b) Keep the records; know the facts—print out or save all the information on your record of purchase, including the product description, delivery information, privacy policy, warranties and any confirmation notices that the seller sends you. Set up a folder on your PC or mobile device where you can store your transaction history. This way, if there is ever a dispute with the merchant or your bank, you have a record of the transaction on hand.

7. (b) Honey is a browser extension from Amazon that claims to find you the best deal immediately by automatically comparing every seller in the Amazon marketplace.

8. (c) A snazzy site doesn’t make a business legitimate or trustworthy. Verify information and claims (for example, call the phone number listed). The absence of a legitimate (or any) address and a working phone number should be cause for concern.

9. (a) and (c) Watch out when you get to the checkout site for high shipping charges and taxes that other vendors may not charge.

So, what kind of online shopper are you?

0-2     Stick with shopping the aisles at Target while you bone up.
3-4     Dabble, but don’t make the web your chief shopping destination until you master it.
5-6     Showing some good knowledge.
7-9     Congrats, you really know how to use the Web as a shopping tool.

Resources: Better Business Bureau, CUInsight, Business Insider

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