First 30 Days Blog

04 feb

5 Tips to Safely Shop on a Mobile Device

RobertCordrayWhen you need to make a purchase, how do you usually go about doing it? Do you open a catalogue? Do you drive to the mall? Or do you, like an increasing number of consumers, whip out the old mobile smart device and take care of business all from the palm of your hand?

Studies show that in 2012, people spent $25 billion on purchases made from phones and tablets, which is an increase of 81 percent from the year before. Unfortunately, many people are making the switch to mobile shopping without taking the time to figure out exactly how it works. Here are five tips to help you get the most out of your journey into m-commerce.

1. Do your research

There are hundreds of thousands (or more) sites online from which you can make purchases. However, not all of them are created equal. Some sites may offer deceptively low-quality products. Others might have terrible service or unfair return policies. And then there are others which might simply be nothing more than online scams designed for no other purpose than to steal your money.

Before you make any purchases, be sure to research the site in question. Look online for reviews from customers who have used the site, and see what kind of experience they may have had. Additionally, check for the name of the website along with the search term “scam.” If you find anything that might indicate that the site doesn’t offer everything it’s supposed to, then you’re better off shopping elsewhere.

2. Avoid using a debit card

Most m-commerce sites allow you to enter a card number for payment. Thus, when getting ready to finalize a purchase, many shoppers choose to pay with a debit card. After all, it’s way easier to keep track of your finances and avoid going into debt if you pay directly from your account.

However, when it comes to online shopping, this can be dangerous. Should the site in question become compromised, criminals could easily do serious (and possibly even irreparable) damage to your finances. This is because debit cards act as a direct link to your account, allowing whomever has them unrestricted access to your bank info. Credit cards, on the other hand, simply act as an extension to your personal credit. This means that although a criminal may make charges to the card itself, they will not be able to actually remove any of your funds from your account.

Additionally, the Fair Credit Billing Act protects credit card users by making them liable only for $50 in the event of credit card fraud. Credit companies also offer additional protection, and may contact you in the event that any suspicious charges are being made.

3. Be protective of your personal information

Many online sites require that you give them a substantial amount of your personal information before you can make a purchase. However, other than your card number and perhaps your billing address, none of that data is necessary to the purchase.

Although many sites will request telephone numbers, email addresses, social media credentials and any number of other personal details, know that once you give this data out, it is no longer secure. Many companies will sell personal data to marketing and advertising agencies, thus resulting in inboxes full of spam and constant telemarketer calls. If a site is demanding more information than you are willing to give, either contact the business directly and see if you can make the purchase without giving out additional details, or leave the site and shop elsewhere.

Be especially sure never to give out your social security number no matter what the circumstances.

4. Be secure

As with in any internet activity, you need to make sure that you’re protected while using your device to shop online. This means, first and foremost, activating your device’s built-in security measures. Locking and password-protecting your device is the best way to keep thieves from being able to access stored account information.

For added protection, there are apps that can be downloaded that will allow a user to remotely erase a device’s entire hard drive in the event that it becomes lost or stolen. Also, only make purchases from secure sites. These are sites that have an “S” after the “HTTP” in the address bar, which indicates added security to keep your information safe. Other safety measures such as a secure web gateway are also recommended.

5. Keep up-to-date on the paperwork

Whenever you make online purchases, you should remember to keep an eye on your statements. Be sure that the amount you’re being charged is the same as the amount you agreed to pay. If it’s not, or if other charges begin to appear, then you should contact your bank immediately. Also, be sure to keep a digital copy of your receipt, in case you end up having a problem with the order; it will be a lot simpler to correct the issue if you have all of your information on hand.

Shopping from a mobile device is a convenient way to avoid the crowds and headaches of going out, but you need to be careful with how you go about doing it. Take these tips to heart, and enjoy the freedom of m-commerce.

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Posted by Robert Cordray on February 4th, 2014 in Technology | 0 comments Read related posts in , ,

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