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Tips for Smart Online Shopping

We've all heard that it is important to stick to a list and avoid impulse shopping when visiting stores--this is just as important with online shopping too. Here are a few helpful tips to keep in mind as you prepare for Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping deals:

Look out for ads geared specifically to your online habits.
Online retailers track what you have purchased in the past, offer up what are perceived to be limited time deals, and can even track you to offer up ads based upon what you have searched for in the past. Instead of jumping on every offer as they come to you ignore them and only look for coupons or deals when it is time to make a purchase. Remember, if you did not look for it you probably don't need it.

Use your online shopping cart as a waiting area.
Ignore the temptation to impulse shop by placing items in your online shopping cart and coming back in a day or two. You may change your mind and it is even possible that the price could be lower.

Be wary of prices that are too good to be true.
Comparison shopping is always importance before you make a purchase. Check to see if there is an unusually high shipping price before you complete your order. You don't want to pay $20 worth of shipping on a $20 item that you can buy in a store.

Know the return, refund and shipping policy.
Before making a purchase, familiarize yourself with the terms of the purchase. Check to see when you can expect to receive your purchase and know the return policy. If you can't find the terms on the website, call the business and ask. You don't want to be stuck with a purchase that you can't use.

Get to know auction-based sites.
These sites are very popular but they are often not connected to a store front. Familiarize yourself with the seller and check out reviews and ratings from other buyers before bidding.

For more tips on how to stay safe online, visit the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse website.

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