Convenience, good deals, and a few scams


Buying and selling online has become an important part of the lives of many people. Virtual stores allow people to shop from the comfort of their own homes without the pressure of a salesperson. Online marketplaces provide a new, more convenient place to trade virtually all types of goods and services.

Businesses and customers have embraced online sales as a cheaper and more convenient way to shop. Yet like everything associated with the Internet, shopping online has its advantages and dangers. Read on to learn how to protect yourself while using this handy resource.

Key points to remember

  • Due to the high cost of university, students and parents rely on the Internet to acquire and sell textbooks at affordable prices.
  • Online shopping is a big part of the retail industry.
  • Most physical stores offer online shopping through their websites.
  • Many stores offer a virtual customer service experience to their customers.
  • Buying and selling online can be very convenient and fun, but be sure to protect your financial information when shopping online.

How does online shopping work?

Buying online is like going to a store. You can often buy the same products online that you can find in a physical store and sometimes can get better sales.

Find a product

When shopping online, you need to start by researching a product. This can be done by visiting a store’s website, or if you don’t know of a store that has the particular item you are looking for, or if you want to compare prices between stores, you can always search for the items with a search engine and compare the results.

On major retail websites, businesses will have pictures, descriptions, and prices. If a company or an individual does not have the means to create a website, some sites like Amazon and Etsy allow them to display products or set up their own online stores for a monthly fee.

Other sites like eBay provide an auction format in which sellers can display items at a minimum price, and buyers can bid on those items until the end of the listing or until the seller decides to award it to a Buyer. Most stores have also placed virtual customer service centers on their websites, so you can call, email, or chat with a live customer service representative if you have any questions.

Buy and receive the product

After selecting a product, the web page usually has a “checkout” option. When you checkout, you often receive a list of shipping and payment options. Shipping options include standard, expedited, or overnight shipping. Depending on the shipping company and your location, standard shipping usually takes from seven to 21 working days, and expedited shipping can take two to six business days.

There are usually various payment options available.

Electronic check

This payment option is like paying directly from your bank account. If you choose to pay by electronic check, you must enter your routing and account numbers. Once done, the amount is taken directly from your bank account.

Credit card

When paying by credit card, instead of swiping your card like you would in a brick and mortar store, you enter the required credit card information in the fields provided. Required information includes your credit card number, expiration date, card type (Visa, MasterCard, etc.) and verification / security number, usually the last three digits on the back of the card above of the signature.

Payment providers

Payment providers or payment processors, such as PayPal, are e-commerce companies that provide payment exchange services. They allow people to securely transfer money between themselves without sharing financial information. Before purchasing through a payment provider, you must first create an account to verify your credit card or financial institution information.

Benefits of online trading

There are many advantages to buying and selling online. These include the following:

  • Convenience: It is very convenient to shop from where you are.
  • Cost savings: With ever increasing gasoline prices, online shopping saves you the expense of travel to stores, as well as parking costs. You’ll also save time by skipping the line, especially during the holidays when stores are busy and crowded with customers.
  • Variety: The internet gives sellers unlimited storage space, so they are more likely to offer a greater variety of products than in physical stores.
  • No pressure: No salesperson is circling around you and pressuring you to buy from a virtual or online store.
  • Easy comparison: Online shopping eliminates the need to travel from store to store to compare prices.

Disadvantages of online trading

There are also downsides to buying and selling online. These include the following.

Increased risk of identity theft

When you pay for your goods online, it can be easy for someone to intercept sensitive information, such as credit card numbers, home address, telephone and others. account numbers.

Supplier fraud

If the seller / seller is fraudulent, they may accept your payment and either refuse to ship your item to you or send you the wrong or defective product. Trying to rectify an incorrect order with a supplier over the Internet can be a problem.

U.S. consumers can report fraud, abuse, and identity theft incidents to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

Protect yourself when shopping online

Overall, the advantages of shopping online outweigh the disadvantages. That said, it’s important to note that while they may be smaller in number, the downsides can be a major ordeal.

When shopping online, it is essential to protect yourself and your information. Here are some tips that can help you take care of yourself.

Invest in technology

It is a great idea to install anti-virus and anti-phishing programs on your computer. A antivirus program will protect your computer from viruses. An anti-phishing program will attempt to protect you through cybersecurity from illegitimate sites that are designed to look like legitimate sites, but actually collect your personal information for illegal activities.

Be careful

Sellers do not have the right to request certain information. If a website asks you Social Security number, it is probably a scam. You will need to find the company requesting the information or leave this site as quickly as possible.


If you search for an item using search engines and come across a store or website that you haven’t heard of, be sure to look for an SSL logo at the bottom of the pages.

SSL is a standard security technology for establishing an encrypted link between a web server and a browser. To be able to create an SSL connection, a web server requires an SSL certificate.

Shipping control

Always read the shipping policies posted on the seller’s website or under the product listing. Some sellers allow you to return an item within a specific time frame, while others never accept returns.

The bottom line

Buying and selling online can be very convenient and rewarding, but you still need to protect yourself. If a deal sounds too good to be true, it usually is. If you don’t feel 100% safe on a particular site, leave it and find something else.

Also make sure that your computer is well protected before starting any transaction involving sensitive information. Many internet scams can negatively affect your credit score and cost you money, so be proactive in your research to get the most out of your online shopping.

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