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People with shopping bagsThe holiday seasons ramp up more each year. That means more shopping, more spending, but also, unfortunately, more incidences of fraud and identity theft.

Our goal here at Safe Smart Living is to make your shopping experience safe and comfortable, so you can focus on enjoying your loved one’s reaction to your gift instead of having to explain to them why the Michael Kors handbag you ordered online never arrived, and someone is now vacationing in the Bahamas courtesy of your credit card line.

How To Keep From Getting Scammed While Shopping Online

How Do I Know If I Can Trust A Website?

How do you know if you can trust an online retailer? A quick and easy way to check online reputations is to visit Reseller Ratings and plug in the website URL you were considering shopping on. Don’t use this as your only check, however. Things to look for in a website:

  • How long has the website been in business.
  • Does it have a social media presence – look for an established Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram page.
  • Does it have Google reviews?
  • Check the spelling/grammar and image quality on the site – fake sites often make mistakes.
  • Look for a contact form, return policy, and privacy policy.
  • If the website accepts online orders, it should be secure (begin with https://), ie. support an SSL connection.

If shopping on a third-party retailer still makes you too nervous, you could always consider the biggest brand-name retailer of them all.

Is Amazon Safe? What About Their Marketplace?

Amazon Prime box and clock

If you still don’t feel comfortable with an online retailer you’ve found that you hadn’t heard of before (even if the rest of the world is raving about them), it might be worth relying on a trusted brand you know instead.

Amazon is one of those, and possibly the largest. You can find everything from books to cars, tech gadgets, kitchen accessories, the list goes on forever. You can even purchase household items like shampoo and laundry detergent, although those aren’t as fun to buy 😉

Note though that Amazon also has a marketplace where third-party vendors sell their goods. If you’re buying a product, take the time to see where it’s coming from – if it’s from “,” it’s either direct from Amazon or being fulfilled by them. If it’s from a third-party company, make sure you take a look at their ratings to see if people have been happy with them, and that they’ve been in business long enough. We recommend being in business for at least a year, a minimum 4.5/5 rating for the company, and at least 100 satisfied customers. This is not a hard and fast rule, so if you have a question about a specific merchant or would like us to take a look, we invite you to post in the comments below.

Is Amazon Prime Worth It?

If you sign up for Prime, there are a lot of benefits. The first (and possibly the most significant reason people sign-up for Prime) is free 2-day shipping on Prime-eligible items. That means no extra shipping fees for items with the Prime symbol next to their listing.

Amazon Prime also includes video streaming, photo storage, music streaming and more. To take advantage of these benefits you must pay a yearly or monthly fee. Amazon can come in clutch for holidays or for those occasions where you don’t have time to go to the store and can wait a couple of days for the item you are purchasing. You can read more about Amazon Prime and see if it’s worth it for you.

Not Sure What To Gift? Do It Safely With This Creative Option

Gift box and tagDo you need to get a gift for someone but aren’t quite sure what they’d like, and don’t want to run the risk of getting scammed? A GiftRocket gift card is a good way to handle this dilemma and will keep you from running afoul of credit card or identity theft. GiftRocket is a safe way to send money without the risk of it being physical currency.

If you find yourself on the receiving end of a GiftRocket gift card, you can exchange it for one of three things: an Amazon gift card, a bank transfer or a PayPal transfer. You can learn more about how you can take advantage of this in our GiftRocket Review.

The Smartest (And Safest) Tech Gift Guide In Town

Techy person and gearEach year we put together our Safe and Smart Tech Gift Guide, which includes the best, most popular items on the market. These items make excellent birthday presents, holiday gifts or “just because” gifts.

Our Tech Gift Guide includes something for everyone. Need a gift for the bookworm? We’ve got you covered. Need an idea for the gym rat in your life? Got it taken care of. What about the music fanatic? Yep, we’ve got that too. Find out what’s on our Tech Gift Guide this year.

Monthly Subscription Services: Deal Or Scam?

Mail with reccuring arrowNo, we’re not talking about magazines. There are subscriptions for just about everything these days. You can get items sent to your door on a regular schedule, saving you a trip to the store. Fun items like clothing subscriptions or necessities like toothbrush subscriptions are just a couple of options that you can gift or receive yourself. But there’s some scammers out there trying to make a quick buck, so make sure you read our reviews for the lowdown.

What scares you most about shopping online?

Disclaimer: This website contains reviews, opinions and information regarding products and services manufactured or provided by third parties. We are not responsible in any way for such products and services, and nothing contained here should be construed as a guarantee of the functionality, utility, safety or reliability of any product or services reviewed or discussed. Please follow the directions provided by the manufacturer or service provider when using any product or service reviewed or discussed on this website.

Kimberly researches everything before she buys. She wants to make sure she is getting the best bang for her buck by purchasing the best product/service, which is why she loves her work. She has a degree in Multimedia Journalism and has been researching and writing professionally since 2013 to help consumers make more educated decisions.

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