It is Not A Bargain if it isn’t Safe

December 14, 2010

More than 22 Billion dollars have already been spent in online holiday spending this season, and an expected 30 million people will use the internet to buy presents according to ComScore data.

Unfortunately, it appears that many consumers are more interested in scoring a bargain than they are in their online safety. In fact, only one in seven prioritize buying from a trusted site according to new research from Paypal that found shoppers priorities concentrate more on finding a bargain (63%) than buying from a trusted website (14%) or rapid delivery time (10%).

A good Deal isn’t Either/Or

Receiving value when purchasing requires two ingredients – a good price and a safe experience. Settling for just a good price places you at risk of receiving counterfeit and inferior goods, at having your information stolen, sold or repurposed, never receiving the items, and, as we’ve just seen in the news, threats of bodily harm. See my blog Death Threats from Sellers for Trying to Return an Online Purchase.

Email and web scams are at an all-time high

From the scams that have landed in my inbox, I can only assume that this years hot items (beyond the usual Viagra, bodily enhancements, and hot women) are Ugg Boots and Nike Knockoffs, and the usual “Lolex” watches.

Checking a site’s legitimacy only takes a moment – and its time well spent

There really is no excuse for failing to check the legitimacy of a website. It only takes a moment or two, and everyone has the skills to do so. If you can search for a store’s name or for whatever item you’re shopping for, you have the skills to search for the stores reputation. If you can’t find a reputation for them, DON’T SHOP THERE. If they have a lot of complaints against them, DON’T SHOP THERE. It’s that easy.

Two key factors determine your level of safety when shopping or conducting any financial transaction online. The first is how well you secure your computing environment; the second is how savvy you are at identifying scams vs. legitimate offers. To test how well you manage your online safety, see my blog ‘Tis the Season – 10 Steps to Safer Holiday Shopping Online.