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Are Online Office Supplies Stores Safe?

Are Online Office Supplies Stores Safe?

While online shopping for office supplies is a great option, the question on many minds is about safety. Online shoppers are mainly concerned about personal security and identity theft. With regular news of theft and fraud it certainly makes sense to be cautious about the security of your information online.

How risky is shopping online for office products?

Online shopping is something most people take for granted these days. In fact many would shop online without a second thought. Yet there are still many people who are afraid to shop online. They're afraid that the internet is full of hackers waiting to steal their sensitive personal information at every opportunity.

Strangely enough these same people are willing to give that information - along with an image of their signature - to a complete stranger at a restaurant, or to a minimum wage retail clerk.

Where does the real risk lie?

Many people have an over-inflated sense of risk when it comes to threats that they don't understand, and let's face it, who really understands the internet? What you do need to understand is where the risks really are, and how likely each is to actually happen.

Credit card theft does happen online. But as long as you deal with reputable office supply stores and avoid scams, it's incredibly rare that it would happen as you make a simple purchase, or because someone is somehow monitoring your transaction.

What's more common, though still surprisingly infrequent, are major break-ins at banks or office supply stores where the information for many people is stolen all at once. In a case like this, it doesn't matter if you used your card online or off - both types of customers would be affected. On top of that, most of those break-ins are dealt with so quickly that you might be affected only to the extent that your account is disabled and quickly replaced.

Individual theft occurs most often off-line. A clerk might make a copy of your credit card and signature, your bank statements might get stolen out of your trash, or your new credit card might disappear out of your mail box before you even know it. Those are all much more common than online scenarios. Even so they're still fairly rare occurrences across millions of card holders and daily transactions.

Safeguarding yourself is simple

Safeguarding yourself from online theft is simple. Make sure you're doing business with reputable online stores for your business office supplies. Check that the business you're about to buy from is real, and one you've heard of. Try and stick with big names you've already heard of that you can trust. In addition, most all of your off-line sources have online presences. And of course you'll also hear by word of mouth what online office supply stores have treated others well.

While entering your personal information, make sure that the connection to the store site is https secure - that's a great way to ensure that you're dealing with who you think You are, as well as keeping your information from other prying eyes.

Tips to consider for a safe online shopping experience

Most people have a great experience from shopping online, while a few fall victim to internet fraud. Here are some hints and tips to consider when purchasing online:

Protect your privacy

By knowing what information an online retailer is collecting about you, how it will be used and if they share it or sell it to others plays a major factor in the threat of online fraud and general security. Check that your online office supplies store’s website has a privacy policy which explains how your information will be used. Be cautious if you are asked about personal information which is not required when completing a purchase such as a social security number or personal bank account information.

Ask for details

Check for anticipated delivery dates, any shipping or handling costs, product warranties and other important information. Look for an email address to write to (or a phone number to call) if you have a question, a problem, or if you need help. Most reputable online office supply stores will offer some sort of email correspondence or customer care when purchasing via the internet.

Safeguard your password while using a credit card

By buying through registered online office supply stores using a credit card, you can avoid most problems as strong credit card policies are practiced and good systems of dispute resolution are widely used. Before entering your payment details, ensure there is a padlock or a key symbol, which are usually in the bottom corner of your screen that confirm you are entering your details in a secure environment.

On a secure site, your information is scrambled into code before being sent over the Internet, and stored on a secure database. By also keeping your passwords secret and not sharing them with other people you are safeguarding yourself from a lot of fraudulent activity. Choose a password that uses a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols and avoid choosing obvious words or dates such as a nickname or your birth date, as these are easier to crack. If you believe someone has learned your password you should change it immediately to avoid any possible risks.

Keep Good Records

Make sure to print or save electronically any records related to your online transactions. This will help you keep track of shipping dates, shipping and handling fees, and other details of your transactions.

Avoid phising scams

Finally, don't fall for scams and phishing attempts. The simple rule of thumb is -if you didn't initiate the transaction, it's time to be very skeptical.

So go ahead - shop online. Don't let unfounded fear of a theft that's unlikely to happen stop you from enjoying the convenience