Did you know?
- One-third of the 195.3 million internet users in the U.S., adults aged 50+ represent the Web's largest constituency
- Two-thirds of Americans 50+ buy from e-retailers online
- In 2012, baby boomers spend 27 hours per week online, 2 hours more per week then Millennials
- 72% of adults 55-63 and even 47% age 73+ shop online
Did you know?
- Latest statistics from 2012 show "nondelivery of payment or merchandise" was the top complaint to the FBI's IC3 (Internet Crime Complaint Center), accounting for nearly 14 percent of more than 25,000 reports logged each month
- Fraud at online auction websites made up another 6 percent of all complaints
- In 2012, the IC3 received nearly 290,000 complaints from victims
- Dollar losses arising from the 2012 complaints totaled almost $525.5 million
- California had the highest percentage of complaints (13.41), followed by Florida, Texas, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Virginia, Ohio, and Washington
- Victims who reported losing money lost an average of nearly $4,600
- More than 32% of complainants came from consumers over the age of 50
What does that tell you?
- The online shopping trend continues to grow quickly every year especially with our Baby Boomer generation.
- The chance of being defrauded in your transactions increases every year as well
- The need for Baby Boomers to be cautious and educated in their online buying decisions is greater than it ever has been
Everyone knows that online shopping websites often offer great deals, variety and convenience.
I am a huge advocate of online shopping and have done most of my personal shopping from reputable website companies for years.
Probably 80% of my shopping is done online now.
I have purchased everything from gift certificates to gardening chemicals from jewelry to sports memorabilia.
I regularly shop at Amazon, Ebay, Groupon, Wal-Mart, OfficeMax and Lowe's.
However, like me, Baby Boomer consumers need to be even more careful and make even more informed decisions about their purchases.
1. Stick to the major websites that are known and reputable when you can. If you are shopping for specialty items make sure the website is secure, check all reviews about the company and even check to see if the company is a BBB (Better Business Bureau) member.
2. Compare prices and deals across several stores, including free shipping, extended service contracts, quantity discounts or other offers.
3. Always check for online coupons, known as promo codes, which offer discounts or free shipping. There are several reputable websites that serve as clearing houses for store coupons and discount codes like "RetailMeNot." Some sites offer promo codes for coupons to be used in company's bricks and mortar stores as well.
4. Get a complete description of the item you are looking to buy and the parts and pieces included. Get the final price, including shipping, delivery time, warranty information, return policy, and complaint procedures.
5. Before you finalize any order, double check the quantities and make sure the total price listed is correct.
6. If you can always pay with a credit card. There are safety clauses built into credit card transactions which protect you in case of fraud. Federal law protects you if you need to dispute charges. Remember there is no built in protection if you pay with debit cards, checks, cash, money orders, or other forms of payment. In fact, you are basically leaving yourself open to even greater risk of fraud if you pay with these methods.
7. Always make sure you are using a secure browser. Look for an address that starts with “https” rather than “http.” The "s" means it's secure. Also, if you click in the lower right hand of the screen you will find a "padlock icon" indicating that the website is secure.
8. Never make online purchases over a public WiFi hot spots like Starbucks or McDonald's. Although they are convenient, these wi-fi spots may not be secure, and your payment information could be stolen over the network.
9. I always download a copy of the purchase order with details of the product and confirmation number to my documents file as well as printing one out to keep on my desk until the item I purchased arrives.
Yes, it's easy and convenient and an incredible time saver but there is a lot of hidden risk so just be careful my friends.
If you have any of your own online shopping tips please leave them in the comments section below.
Thanks for joining me..........................................................