Is online shopping safe? The overwhelming answer to this question is yes. While there are a few bad actors out there, safe online shopping is the overwhelming rule, and not the exception. Most Internet merchants practice high ethical standards, and enforce them to make Internet commerce flow freely and lucratively.
Safe online shopping is not only possible, but it is also more secure than most traditional transactions. If you think about it, you practice safe online shopping techniques all the time. Whenever you pay with a credit or debit card at a terminal, your card is swiped into a little machine that communicates via the Internet. Your numbers are generally safe.
Safe online shopping is also pretty standard when going online. The vast majority of Internet merchants use one of a few dozen online payment processing companies to manage credit and debit card transactions. These transactions are recorded based on the item purchased, quality and quantity of item, and shipping address. While your numbers may be stored somewhere, they are always stored in an encrypted format on the server of each processor, and never with the merchant herself. Furthermore, this storage never occurs without your permission.
There are some online shopping risks, especially involving private sales. Some merchants are actually scammers, most from countries without well developed rules of law. These scammers collect credit card numbers in phishing scams, and use your line of credit to bankroll their own needs.
What can you do to promote online shopping safety? Always know the domain name you are submitting data to, and if possible, see it their payment processor is accredited. Oftentimes, it is possible to pay through a third website that already has these numbers. These websites are safely used by millions for transactions every day, and should not pose a problem.
Safe online shopping is the rule, and not the exception. There are ways you can promote safety online, but fortunately, some common sense goes a long way. By engaging in safe online shopping practices, you are keeping the Internet safe for everyone, and encouraging the development of even more safe online shopping practices.