New to online shopping? Here’s how to stay safe

(NC) If online shopping makes you a little nervous, you’re not alone. Though it’s been around for years, not all of us have embraced the world of online shopping.

If you’re interested in doing more online shopping, here are a few tips to shop safely and with confidence.

Comparison shop
Just like you might check different stores at a local mall, check out various websites selling the product you want, so you have a realistic sense of pricing.

Read the terms and conditions
Make sure to read the fine print before you pay so you know your options if you have to return the item. Some stores will cover return shipping, while others will not. Some outlets will have a quick 14-day turnaround for returns or exchanges, while others will give you more time. Some might advertise free return shipping, but charge you a restocking fee instead, or charge for taxes and duties if the product is crossing the border.

Take online reviews with a grain of salt
Online product reviews can sometimes be paid for by the company selling the product, so they may not always provide the best insight. Don’t just look at the highest and lowest ratings, and check if the product has reviews from a wide range of time. Check a few different sites and sources for reviews.

Pay with your credit card
It’s best to pay online with your credit card or a secure service such as PayPal. They have consumer protections that allow you to dispute the charges if you need to, unlike your debit card or an e-transfer. Review your banking and credit card statements regularly and you’ll notice if anything is amiss.  

Online shopping is usually safe and secure, but it’s important to keep your eyes open to stay safe.

If you think you’ve been a victim of fraud, contacted by a scammer or misled by marketing tactics, report it to the Competition Bureau at

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