Tips to Ensure Online Shopping Safety

Wednesday, May 27, 2015


online-shopping-safetyThe majority of Canadians have become quite comfortable shopping on the Internet. According to the latest research from the eCommerce chapter of the Ipsos Canadian Inter@ctive Reid Report, over eight in ten (82%) Canadian Internet users have made a purchase online in the past year. The study also found that the average amount of reported spending annually for online purchases in Canada is $954.1.



The more comfortable you become with shopping online, the less you worry about security issues. Even if you consider yourself to be a savvy online shopper, it’s still a good idea to brush up on tips for safe online shopping to make sure your experience is always positive.


Before buying from a website, find out what other shoppers are saying about that company. A quick search of the site online should result in reviews from other shoppers. If they’ve had a bad experience, chances are it will turn up. Also be wary of overly enthusiastic reviews. They could be fake.


Ensure that the site is using a secure connection. You’ll know this by the “s” that follows “http” in the browser bar. You should also see an image of a lock. Some retailers will also have an icon called a trust indicator or security seal that shows that the retailer is independently verified by a third party such as Norton Security.


Check for a physical “bricks and mortar” address and contact details like phone numbers for the vendor before buying anything from them. You want to be sure you can reach them should a problem arise.


Look for a Return Policy and read it over carefully. The vendor should clearly state how you can return your purchase if necessary.

Be a smart online shopper

  • Avoid using public wifi or public computers when shopping online, such as at a coffee shop or airport. If you must make a purchase, use the cellular data on your mobile device instead
  • Don't send your credit card details via email, post them on social media (even in a private message), or enter them on an unsecured website
  • Don't give away more information than required. There is no reason why retailers should ask for information like your date of birth or social insurance number
  • Use strong, unique passwords for your accounts at each online store. If you haven’t changed your password in awhile, now is a good time

Remember to log out of your account after making a purchase

Keep your devices up to date

Check regularly for updates to your operating system, as well as ensuring apps and browsers are kept up-to-date with the latest version2

Shopping online is easy, convenient and fun – but it can also be dangerous. It pays to stay vigilant to protect your identity and your bank account so you can continue to shop with confidence.

Author’s note: This article ran on January 17, 2012 and has been updated for accuracy.

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