Only a few decades ago, no one was able to buy items online. Online didn’t even exist! But now… you can buy pretty much anything under the sun via the internet. Especially since COVID-19, now, businesses are shifting their focus to online consumerism. Organizations like Amazon have gone from popular websites to crucial for millions of Americans. Unfortunately, there are a lot of risks with purchasing things online. But that’s what we’re here for!

Here are some important things to remember whenever you’re buying — or selling — anything online:

Make sure your internet connection is secure

Data breaches cost enterprises an average of $3.92 million in 2019.

Sadly, there are so many fraudulent criminals out there that have shifted their focus to the digital world, as well. Make sure that whenever you’re buying things online or even browsing certain products and websites, you’re using a secure and safe server.

Similarly, it’s important to note that you should never give your personal and financial information away to anyone online. That includes answering personalized emails. Just because an email offering looks legitimate, doesn’t mean that it is. In fact, if you’re getting certain deals and “amazing offers” via email… it’s almost always too good to be true, so tread carefully!

Pay attention to how your item is being transported

Roughly 95% of the world’s cargo moves by ship. Due to higher costs, it still makes more financial sense to transport goods in high volume ships.

The last thing you want to do is buy a relatively cheap item and have to pay a major shipping fee. With sites like Amazon, you can usually find great products and enough items to qualify for free shipping. However, there are a lot of third-party vendors on this and similar sites that charge extremely high shipping costs. So make sure you’re doing plenty of research throughout your shopping and buying process and never hit submit until you’re 100% sure you’re getting a fair deal and are not being taken advantage of with expensive shipping costs.

Be careful when buying cosmetics online

You need to be doing a ton of research whenever you’re buying anything online — especially when it comes to beauty products. Every once in awhile, you might stumble upon a great deal for a particular product you’ve been searching for. But it might not be approved by certain organizations and could even be potentially dangerous to use on your hair, skin, or other parts of your body.

Approximately 70% of women in the United States say that they use hair coloring products. No matter what you’re buying, always be sure you’re researching each and every product — which brings us to our next point…

Always read the reviews

Whether you’re buying your weekly groceries, a new toothbrush, or some expensive piece of furniture, you need to always read the reviews for any product you’re purchasing online. Thankfully, customers love to leave both positive and negative reviews of all kinds of things.

If you notice that the product you’re going to buy has a ton of negative reviews and only one or two positive ones, you might want to look elsewhere for that particular product. But if you only see positive reviews and only one or two bad reviews from an unhappy customer, you’re most likely going to be getting a great item. But read those reviews!

Only buy from credible websites

Though you have to be careful when buying from even the most credible of websites like Amazon or Walmart, you have to be even more careful when buying items online from lesser-known sites.

Craigslist, for instance, has plenty of awesome products for sale but is also filled with people who try and take advantage of willing buyers. So be extra careful!

You can pretty much find and buy anything online nowadays — but you have to be careful! Always do your research, check the fine print, and only buy from credible suppliers!