Online shopping has become a lifestyle! The convenience and liberty of scrolling through sites in your pyjamas and having packages delivered to your doorstep the next day has proved to be immensely popular over the years. Technology is improving, websites are smarter, and deliveries are faster. Shopping has never been so easy. However, the risk of scamming, identity theft and fraud has simultaneously increased with the ease of online shopping.

One major advantage of online shopping is the convenience of it. In today’s world where a great number of people live stressful lives, packed with back to back schedules, shopping online proves to save precious time. As well as this, shoppers can still spend their money wisely without the hassle of wandering from store to store as sites often compare prices for you and provide you with the best deals. With ever increasing gas prices, shopping online saves you the cost of driving to stores and the time of standing in long queues particularly in busy periods like Christmas. Ultimately, shopping online is arguably incredibly convenient.

Moreover, for introverts who despise communicating with staff, online shopping is a dream! There is no salesperson following you around and pressuring you to buy products you have no interest in. It saves you money from making unnecessary purchases. You don’t even need to ask staff for help in getting your size as online sites have an extensive variety in the products that they showcase on their website. Online stores have unlimited shelf space, providing products of all sorts to please several audiences.

On the other hand, the increase of online shopping has also given rise to an increase in online crimes. For instance, an increase in identity theft. When paying for your goods online, it provides a gateway for offenders to find out personal information such as your credit card number, home address, phone number etc. As a result, it is important to invest in an anti-virus programme and technology that protect you against sites that look legitimate but are sites that collect your personal information.

Additionally, some sellers abuse their right to ask for information to use for illegal activity. If some sites ask for your social security number, it is probably a scam. It is essential to educate yourself so that you are not a victim of this. Don’t be naive and give out information that you feel uneasy giving and always check beforehand.

The bottom line is, online shopping, as much as it is convenient, you must protect yourself at any cost. The internet is unfortunately home to a lot of scams that could cost you a lot of money and negative financial effects. The next time your computer tells you to renew your anti-virus protection, don’t ignore it! Be safe! And continue online shopping of course!

Harishni Manoharan