Save Yourself the Pennies –Tips for Shopping Smart & Safe Online…

Like most things in our lives, if you can do it in person, you can do it online!  From watching the news, to reading books or shopping, technology has certainly made its presence felt.  And with this new playground comes a few safety concerns.  Most people who are shy to try out purchasing online cite a few reasons, such as credit card safety, being unable to ‘touch and try’ before buying, as well as long shipping periods or high shipping fees.  The comfort of immediately having and holding something that you have paid for is absent in the e-commerce arena, but I think that shopping online actually builds up the anticipation for an item – much like receiving presents in the post, although admittedly from oneself!

Becky Bloomwood’s pink laptop is so cute!!  I want it. 🙂

However, payment security and the reliability of a store are two very serious aspects of e-shopping that must never be overlooked.  Just use common sense, right?  Well, sometimes, in the heated moment of trying to secure a coveted item at a ‘very good deal’, we can sometimes throw caution to the wind.

Here are two things to remember when shopping online:

  1.  If it’s too good to be true, it usually is. (You knew this was coming!)
  2. Don’t be greedy.  It is after all, only a(n) _______.  You will survive without it!

So how do you save yourself the headache of losing your money to a fraudulent merchant on the WWW?

These four sites are your very best friends:

Better Business Bureau

Scam Adviser



Always check with the BBB.  You can easily find a company’s grading, how many complaints have been launched against a merchant, which categories (i.e. faulty product, poor customer service) they were under, and whether they were resolved.

If you don’t find a business on the BBB, check the next two websites.  Scam Adviser allows users to share their experiences through reviews, and will tell you where a company is registered/located, as well as display the ‘trust rating’ of a site.  Webutation is similar, but has the added feature of allowing you to check out the Social Buzz.  What are people saying about a certain company on Google+, Twitter or Facebook?  Webutation makes it easy to access that information.  It also checks to see if security software such as Google Safebrowsing and Norton Antivirus are enabled on sites.

Lastly, we have the mighty Google.  You should always run the following searches in addition to the three sites, especially when dealing with sites that don’t seem to sit quite right with you.

“ scam”

“ reviews”

If the poor reviews outweigh the positive ones, it is probably best to steer clear from it.  After that, it is up to you to use your judgment on whether it is a good idea to buy from a particular store or not.  And if you ever feel really, really tempted to just take the plunge on a site you’re not sure of… take a breath, shut your laptop/computer, and go for a walk.  Give yourself time to think in a calming environment.

My last but most important tip is this:  Steer clear of anything that claims to be an outlet for luxury labels for the lowest prices –unless of course, they’re reputable sites like Gilt Groupe and Hautelook!  It’s only asking for hassle and heartbreak when you receive the product (or don’t!) and it is a fake.  No Chanel bag or Louboutin shoes are worth so much trouble!

Happy (safe) shopping!


–Miss Cathie

Image Credit:  Touchstone Pictures — Confessions of a Shopaholic


  1. May 30, 2012 / 10:06 am

    Absolutely agree with your last tip. The last time I was in Tiffany, I was standing next to an unhappy customer trying to return an item he bought online from an “authorized reseller.” The bag and box the necklace came in were reasonably good fakes at a quick glance. The associate had to gently inform him that he had been a victim of a scammer. I prefer to stick to official company websites or Amazon.

    • Cathie
      June 3, 2012 / 5:21 pm

      Such a sad story, Kathleen –especially if he had intended that as a present for his sweetheart! You can never be too careful online!

  2. August 27, 2012 / 10:22 pm

    Wonderful tips for better shopping experience. Thanks for sharing it. It would be helpful to avoid scams.

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