Online Shopping Security – Is My Online Shopping Information Safe?

Just as shopping on the Internet has grown the past few years, so have the opportunities for the bad guys to do MAJOR damage to an online shopper. Just as there are muggers, thieves and pickpockets in the malls, so there are online thieves and muggers on the internet, just waiting to “pick your pocket” and grab your identity. However, technology has come to the rescue to “save the day.”

If you are concerned (and well you should be) about the safety of your identity or credit information when you shop online, you are smart to shop only at those sites that you know and trust, those that are committed to safeguarding your information when you shop online.

What Can You Do?:

  • Be sure the site is secure by checking the address line in your browser. Look for the “https“- the “S” indicates that you are at a secure, encrypted check-out site.
  • Use a credit card instead of a debit card or online check, if possible. That way you have better recourse.
  • If you receive an email or telephone call that there is a question about your payment, contact the retailer at the telephone number or email address provided on their website under “Contact us” in order to find out if there really was an issue.
  • An online store will not normally ask you to “Verify” your payment source or bank account once you leave the site. If there is a question about your payment, they will simply cancel or suspend the order, inform you of what they did and why, then give you specific information as to what you should do next. It almost always involves going back to the website.

Other Safeguards

There are several more ways you can protect yourself and your payment information when you shop online. Here are a few that we use.

  • Many online retailers have the option of paying through PayPal. At PayPal you can choose your funding options — credit card, debit card or online check. Or you can send money to your account to set up a credit balance. You can open your account at PayPal.com.
  • Shop only at major stores and/or online shopping malls. If you are unsure of the store, see if it is part of a “shopping portal” — another name for an online shopping mall. Most reputable shopping portals check out the merchants and verify that their online stores use a secure payment system, or “shopping cart,” before allowing them to become part of their portal.
  • NEVER allow the store to “remember” your payment information. Yes, it’s a hassle pulling out your card every time, but it’s worth your peace of mind.
  • Be sure to print out the web page and all confirmations and documentation associated with your order.
  • Just as you would do when shopping in a brick and mortar store, be sure that you understand the store’s return policy to avoid any “legitimate” loss of money. If you find you must return an item, first find out if you can just go to the retailer’s local brick and mortar store. If not, be sure that you fill out and pay for a “proof of delivery” from the Post Office. It’s less that a dollar, and is well worth it.
  • If you are shopping for services or booking travel online, we still give you the same caveats. Payment information is not to be stored on the Internet anywhere.

In Conclusion:

When you come right down to it, online shopping is probably a lot safer than in a physical store or by mall. Being safe when you shop online is mostly just a matter of common sense.

The eVolution Of The iNternet Family Online Shopping Mall

Do you remember how great great grandfather did the family shopping? He would hook up his team of horses to the big wagon put in the family and trudge off across the prairie for a day or so to get to the nearest ‘general store’. Once there it was a great outing for the family. The store had everything needed from children’s store bought candy to mother’s ready made dress. If the store did not have that certain special item there was always the option of the catalog.

After the turn of the century (1900 not 2000) a couple of remarkable changes occurred that begin to alter family shopping. America began to grow up and out – at least to the oceans. And the automobile made its auspicious entrance. Now the family could get to the general store much faster. Mother loved that, she could make more trips is a shorter time.

There was, however, an embryo of change being observed in the stores themselves. The increase in populations made for more stores and a wider variety of markets. The general store began to break up. ‘Specialty’ stores began to emerge. Dress shops, drug stores, movie theaters etc. A whole group of cottage industries began to make an entrance. It is true the big boys were still ever present and getting bigger. Sears Roebuck and Co, J. C. Penny, and others were still on top, still selling through the ever present catalogs.

As our country grew through World War II it became more sophisticated. The little village grew into a city. This resulted in the concept of a ‘town square’. The big stores were usually on opposite sides of the square with the little specialty shops filling in the gaps. Usually these types of cities were the county seat so you would have a court house and a government office building. There was something else of importance that came into prominence through this period. Access to information began to grow with the appearance of the County Library.

As we moved into the 1960s the automobile presented a nightmare problem to family shopping that was totally unexpected. Traffic and Parking began to choke the city square concept. It is certain everyone still wanted to shop, but usually at the same time. It was near impossible to find a parking meter on the down town streets in the town square.

American ingenuity, as usual, prevailed. We made parking the priority item and called it all a ‘suburban shopping mall’. Now there were acres of free parking with the shops in the middle. The next major evolution was to air condition the whole shopping mall. What’s not to like? The big guys where still at opposite ends of the shopping mall. Now there was unlimited space for expansion of the specialty shops. Even better, it was all accessible on foot. Only thing left was the food court. Now family shopping had moved to heaven.

We refined and sharpen this concept to an art form over the next few decades. Some where during that period of time the government slipped in a not understood or utilized system which took the handle of the ‘internet’. So what? Nothing happened for a long time. Then the next stunning invention occurred. The mouse (computer) began to wiggle around. Do you not understand that without the mouse the computer is a black box? Put them together and we have the Personal Computer.

Somewhere in the eternal scheme of things the infinite minds of the computer geeks and nerds began to squeak and rumble. A marriage of the internet and personal computer took place. While that is a worthwhile discourse in its own right far too large for our purposes we would be remiss to pass it by without comment. It was only a few years back, in the mid 1990s that this even occurred. This is important to understand to be able to focus of the rapidity of current events, speaking of the internet online shopping. It was about 1994/95 time period that a company called Netscape came along with their commercial internet browser. It started an absolute revolution. It is not until about 1996 that Microsoft finally figured it out and came roaring down the road with their internet explorer. The race was on.

The other side of the story was the functional software development on the internet. In the beginning the only thing we could figure out for the internet was file transfer (FTP). Then it dawned on someone that if we could read from the internet why not write to the internet. Incredible concept! Websites began popping up all over the place.

We began to see a true information highway. Any company could advertise it presence throughout the world with minimal effort. The internet browser now could interact with a company’s data base. Of course, it was just a heart beat away until the website could actually sell products. The impact of this was absolutely profound. Shopping was changing course. It was now being called internet online shopping. Family online shopping was born.

Internet online shopping is now moving so fast it is near impossible to keep up from day to day. However, what goes around comes around; we are right back to the 1950s, electronically speaking. The big boys still have their big websites. But now the little specialty ishops are filling in the blanks. They can compete directly with the big companies-almost. There are online shopping malls all over the internet. Home shopping online, even discount shopping online is growing non-linearly everyday

There are now, as there always are, another set of complications that have risen with need to be addressed. There are literally millions of websites on the internet to be found or in most cases NOT to be found. This has caused the mushrooming of another incredibly fast most moving cottage industry in the form of Internet Marketing. Search engines, Pay Per Click (PPC), Website Content etc. are all now very critical to a website.

When you search during an online shopping spree, for our purposes a shopping search, it is not uncommon to get back several thousand websites. In order to truly shop you must go through one website at a time until you can find that for which you are looking. This gives rise to the word surfing.

The solutions for these problems are emerging in the form of holistic online shopping mall websites that provide categories from discount shopping online to online clothes shopping to surf through. The website bears the burden and responsibility of filtering and selecting appropriate merchants based on the subject of the website.

The next cutting edge development emerging is the ‘internet online shopping specialty ishops’. That is where a very narrow subject is the focus of a ‘mini website’. For example, a ‘Women’s Plus Size Clothing Specialty iShop’ or a ‘Family Scrapbooking Specialty iShop’. The list for online shopping specialty ishops will soon be endless. The important factor here is this type of website contains only merchants for that very specific specialty. That places all the major merchants plus many of the competitive smaller online shopping website within one click of the customer. It greatly curtails the endless surfing through each merchant website.

One last point, much like the shopping mall of old the specialty online shopping website will have the library, i.e., information highway, news links, ebooks, fresh content articles and what ever else is required to maintain a holistic family shopping environment at you finger tips.

Then the next step in family online shopping will be …

NCO Financial Services

One of the financial services that is available to businesses and corporations is the business process outsourcing (BPO) service. This service offers businesses and corporations with a system wherein they can maintain contact with their clients with regard to various matters such as credit collection, technical support, and other means. Companies that provide this service usually put up a contact center where agents are hired to maintain the client-vendor relationship between the companies that use this service and those that buy from them.

An example of such a company is the NCO Financial Services Company, which offers a wide variety of services to its clients. It is the aim of this almost eighty-year-old company to reduce client operating expenses, increase cash flow, and improve the efficiency of their client companies. NCO Financial Services has a wide network of contact centers in various countries wherein they operate. The major services that they offer fall under three major categories: Finance and Accounting, Customer Relationship Management, and Back Office.

The Finance and Accounting units deal mainly in resolving deficient customer relationships, which include the collection of past due obligations. Under this category are specific services, on of which is the Accounts Receivable Management Unit. This unit will be able to help your business collect past due obligations and correct delinquencies in payments of your clients. Other services under the Finance and Accounting unit are the Portfolio Management and Collection Units.

NCO Financial Services also ensures that the customer relationship is maintained through its Customer Relationship Management Unit, which ensures that your clients will have access to technical support and the right information with regard to their transactions through both inbound and outbound calling campaigns. This service can also provide a platform for your company to increase your sales, as outbound calling campaigns increases the awareness of your products.

The Back Office Unit will be able to help your company in your order-processing needs when it comes to the sales generated through the outbound calls. In addition to this, NCO Financial Services will also help you in the delivery of payments to your companies and even in litigation if problems are encountered with regard to the payments.

Businesses have a number of needs to fulfill with regard to maintaining customer relationships; it is then very comforting to know that there are systems and organizations that are available such as the NCO Financial Services. NFO Financial Services can help businesses with these needs by providing effective business outsourcing services.