How to become a smart shopper and avoid online shopping risks

It is easy to compare prices, save enough time, and also avoid the rush while shopping, as we have the internet at our fingertips. But online shopping is also a prime risk zone where people might become a victim of identity theft.

Recent studies show that nearly 51% of purchases are made online, and the number is still growing. This increase in online shopping has also made it easy for cybercriminals to harm common shoppers. Consumers are becoming victims just because more people are using the internet without knowing the potential risk and how to avoid such a threat.

So, before plunging into the internet, you must be aware of the do’s and don’ts of online shopping. This way you may protect your personal information and reduce the risk of an online scam or identity theft.

Dos:

Compare prices and discounts –

Most of the online shopping sites offer great discounts throughout the year, but you must make sure you are getting the best discount available for your product. You must compare similar products with the value of their offered discounts, prices, and delivery charges. Choose the best item with the maximum discount available, and make sure you apply the right coupon code for the product.

Check out reviews –

No matter what happens on the internet, no matter how much discount you are getting, always shop after checking out the reviews given by previous shoppers. You can use your PC or smartphone to check reviews at any point in time. It’s better to buy products that have mostly positive reviews.

Prepare a list –

Make a quick list of the products you need primarily. Make sure you prepare the list considering the best brands, best prices, maximum discounts, and quality of the products. Now you can arrange the order of buying based on requirement or price. If you find out some items in your list are on sale, you may buy them first.

Create a budget –

Buying items on discount through online shopping can’t help you save money. You should set a budget for every item you want to buy. Set up the budget based on what you can afford and for how long you’ll be using the item.

Read the fine print on every item –

Most online shopping sites monitor their visitors and offer discounts on the basis of their age, spending pattern, choice of products, selected brands, and other important factors. While buying some item, make sure to go through the terms and conditions a.k.a fine prints associated with the product. It is possible that a certain big discount is applicable to you only if you purchase worth a certain amount, or buy 1 get 1, or on certain brands only. You might also need to check the guarantee and return policy of that product.

Use cash while making payments –

You’ll spend less when you purchase items with cash. Use cash while buying products from the store; you might get a good cash discount. Of course, it is easier to pay using a credit or debit card when you shop online. It that case, make sure you are paying back the card within 3 to 4 days after buying such products.

Verify the website’s security –

You must keep yourself away from the online shopping risks as much as possible. For that reason always shop from the website that is secured. How do you locate a secure website? Find websites with “https” in the URL, or look for a tiny padlock icon in your browser before you confirm the site as an authentic, secured website.

Keep tracking your statements –

Track your bank statements every month. If you ever notice a discrepancy, you may demand an explanation from the retailer. For example, if your credit card company overcharged you the interest on your credit card, you call the retailer and ask them to correct the error.

Don’ts:

Avoid impulse buying –

It’s wise to avoid impulse buying as much as possible. If it’s not on your list, make sure you don’t add it for the time being. Online shops may give you lucrative discounts on items you don’t need right now. But, you should avoid buying those stuff you didn’t plan to purchase. This way, you can tame your overspending habit and save a decent amount from your monthly budget.

Stop using cards –

Using a credit or debit card for online shopping can trigger the chances of online fraud and identity theft. Once you provide your card details into the online shopping site money transfer portal, there’s a chance that hackers may hack your login and fetch your personal data from there. So, to increase your online shopping security, make sure you do not save your card details on that website just to make “one-click easy” payments.

Do not purchase food items online –

It is quite difficult to visit the grocery store, again and again, only to buy fruits and veggies. But presently, many websites deliver the purest form of food products, especially organic food or health products at cheap rates.

But do not buy food or health products online. Fresh food items and health products should be purchased directly from stores to ensure authenticity. Moreover, health products should be bought from popular stores since there are many websites online where fake products are being sold.

Avoid social networking sites deals –

Do not trust such deals. Most of the URLs appearing in social ads are customized and will redirect you to social media sites. It means you might get redirected to a fraudulent website. You can view those deals as the reference but go directly to the retailer’s website for more details.

Avoid taking your friends with you –

It’s quite amazing to go shopping as a group, or with friends. But trust me…it’s also dangerous.
If you need to shop smartly, it is wise to go alone. This way you’ll get most of the good deals left only for you; with friends you might not get all the offers and discounts alone.
Also, people spend more than usual when they are accompanied by friends. They may engage in impulse buying most of the time when they are with friends. As a result, they fall into debt trap.

Don’t use wire money to pay for any product –

After buying a product from an online auction site, such as eBay, the seller might ask you to wire your payment. That is a mistake, don’t do it. Wiring money may push you into a fraud situation. You can’t get your money back if the item you ordered never arrives. Pay with a credit card so you can dispute the charges if you don’t receive your item.

Don’t forget to inspect your new product –

Notify your seller as soon as you get your package delivered. Check your product properly and call the seller if you have any issues. The seller may pick up your package and if the issue is genuine, you’ll get the replacement or the money will be refunded.

Don’t shop using public computers –

Online shopping will require your personal financial data, like credit card number, name, address, pin code, etc. So, if you are using a public network computer, like the one at a coffee shop or bookstore, stop it right now to avoid online shopping risk.

Hackers may access your private data by accessing your account through the public network. Those networks are pretty vulnerable to hackers and they can easily sneak in. Shared computer networks can be bugged with spyware or other malicious viruses. These viruses can harm your computer and report your credit card information to hackers. If you really need to use a public computer or network, try scanning it first with an antivirus, internet security software like Kaspersky, Bitdefender, Norton, Mcafee, or any other software. These softwares can even increase your online shopping security to the next level if you use them at home, in your personal PC, laptop, or phone.

Do’s and don’ts of online shopping can be controversial. So, without thinking much, just follow your instincts. When you create your list, try to follow the order and don’t buy anything that’s not there. If you are getting a better offer for your product, check them out. But whatever you do, keep patience.

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How will bankruptcy treat your debts and make you debt free?

How will bankruptcy treat your debts and make you debt free?

Bankruptcy deals with debts in a way, no other debt relief option does. By debt relief, we mean a process that helps to pay off debts.
That could be anything out of, Debt Consolidation, Debt Settlement, Credit Card Balance Transfer, or for instance, Bankruptcy.

In this blog post, we will be revisiting Bankruptcy. We felt people want to know Bankruptcy in an easier approach!
And, we aim to satisfy you with quality content and clear water information.
Bankruptcy gives you shelter from the cold threats and hot actions of creditors and collectors.
It forgives most of your debts, at times all! And, it gives you a new meaning to your life, if taken positively.
Many famous people have filed bankruptcy in the history of our nation.
Examples are big music bands, important political figures, Hollywood stars, and many more! Will Smith did it,

Abraham Lincoln did it,
Marvin Gaye went through it…… even did Mike Tyson.

In most of the cases, bankruptcy seems to work out in unexpected ways. It is noticed that people start to change after filing bankruptcy! Their financial habits change, their lifestyles change, and most astonishingly their social health changes.

Here, we will cover 3 important aspects of Bankruptcy:

  1. How Bankruptcy treats your debts. A breakdown of Chapter 7 and 13.
  2. Impact of Bankruptcy on your life, and a new beginning.
  3. How Bankruptcy affects your social health.

P.S: We will only deal with consumer finance, and center our discussion on Chapter 7 bankruptcy and Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
Chapter 11 and Chapter 12 bankruptcy are mainly used by corporations and family farmers respectively.

The 2 different chapters of bankruptcy and their own individualistic treatment of debts!

The biggest fear people have when they think of bankruptcy is that they are going to lose everything to the court and creditors in the process.
By everything we definitely mean money, house, cars, personal properties and any other asset the filer has.
But, it’s actually not so!
Bankruptcy has been introduced into the law system to make us realize of our financial mistakes and help us lead a better life afterward!

Here’s what Chapter 7 does:

Firstly, this specific debt relief option, i.e a chapter 7 bankruptcy, is very aggressive and straight forward.
Its aim is to clear your debt mess once and for all. And, if you are filing this chapter, then you need to know that it has the power to liquidate all your assets and sell them off to compensate for your debts.
Chapter 7 has got the reputation of liquidation bankruptcy. But, you can still keep some of your assets as a part of the exemption.
Usually, you get to keep some of the equities on your assets depending on the exemption limit set by either the State or the Federal Government.
Some states might allow you to choose between either Federal Exemptions or State Exemptions, while others will only let you take the State Exemptions.

If you get the choice, then choose the one that lets you exempt or keep most of your properties!

It’s not quite possible to read out all the exemptions out here. For state exemptions read the Nolo’s article, and for Federal exemptions read the Bankrate’s article. They have explained it better and we believe no further explanation is needed.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy wipes out your debts by nearly forgiving most of the unsecured debts, but child support and alimony are exceptions!
On the other hand, tax debts are highly ‘misbehaved’ and they might hold on to your back, even after filing bankruptcy. They are not easily discharged!
Plus, if IRS has imposed any form of tax lien on any asset before the bankruptcy filing, then you might also not be able to sell off that asset in bankruptcy!
Also, Student loans are the toughest form of debt to be discharged in bankruptcy. You will have to show the court that making payments for the student loan will become an excessive financial burden or hardship.
And, that’s what Chapter 7 is talking about.

Now,

Here’s what Chapter 13 does:

Beautifully crafted, it’s easier to qualify for Chapter 13 than for Chapter 7.
Chapter 13 is also called reorganization bankruptcy, one that gives you time to manage debts over a spread out payment plan!
But, unlike Chapter 7 we won’t be selling off or liquidating assets, as we don’t need to! A debt repayment plan will be laid down and you will be paying off debts in a longer duration with systematic payments.
In Chapter 13 (also in Chapter 7… remembered to mention), an automatic stay will be imposed on you that will bar all creditors and collectors from making any attempt to collect debts from you.
But, secured debts might behave in some other way, and a secured debtor can file a motion of relief to lift your automatic stay!

Any other creditor can also do the same thing but the norms for filing such a motion is not easy to meet!
Discuss with an advocate about automatic stay and motion of relief, to understand the concepts in more detail.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, however, may or may not forgive your debts, which depends on their level of priority. But you can expect to see some of your low priority unsecured debts getting forgiven if you can show some type of hardship in making their payments!
Either way, both in Chapter 7 and Chapter 13, the secured debts have no chance of forgiving!
In fact, if you can’t carry on with payments according to the repayment plan, given in chapter 13, then there will be chances of foreclosure!
But, here’s one tip: Always try to file a no-asset bankruptcy (do your own research), if going for Chapter 7!!! In Chapter 13 however, try to carry on with your secured debt payments as per the repayment plan, to keep your property.
But, whatever it is, you can only keep your property if you can make the payments. Be it even bankruptcy.

Effect of ‘Bankruptcy’ on your ‘Social Health And Life’, and how you should respond to the new call:

If you are planning to file bankruptcy, then you must take it seriously, for it’s about to get a serious grip on you.
Bankruptcy is not just a financial term, that’s only expressed in numbers and dollars. It’s a deep event, that has a deep impact on your life.
Bankruptcy will change your life. It’s like a new beginning that will help you to realize about things, that you never quite understood before. It’s the depression I am speaking mate. It’s the ‘Significant Low’ that comes after the fuming ‘High Life’, you have led.
One wise person told me, to have fun, till the limit I wanted to! And then, when I would realize the mistakes, I should not repeat them. You can keep on doing mistakes till you yourself realize them.
And, bankruptcy exactly does that. It makes you realize your financial mistakes, it makes you understand your status, it makes you understand your ground, and most importantly it teaches you some big lessons.
Try to take the Bankruptcy Depression positively.

But, things might not be that easy either.

Bankruptcy affects your social health! People around you will start to behave and act differently. And, you will definitely notice them, for those changes will be highly noticeable.
Bankruptcy might promise you a new life, financially.
It will get rid of your debts and will make you debt free.
But, it does not guarantee you a happy social life.
However, you can always make things go your way if you are ready to accept changes and can be positive!
There are so many people who were actually benefited from bankruptcy. Slowly and steadily they tried out new sources of income. Got more money coming in. Started to practice new money habits. Planned on investments and made nice wealth overtime.
You can also do the same.
There’s absolutely no reason to withdraw yourself from social activities if your own people start to isolate you.
Time will give your options. There’s nothing to be shy, ashamed, or guilty conscious, just because you went bankrupt. It is for the help and benefit of the general people, do our law has bankruptcy in it.
It’s good that you have realized, and are ready to rectify your money habits.
It’s a good sign!
It means you are human, and therefore comprehending ethics!

Even if you feel, that you want to avoid bankruptcy, then I would say, you should choose debt consolidation or debt settlement.

They are far easier to go with, with no social health injury attached!
For more details on your case, please talk to a nearby advocate, or join online forums to discuss with other people, who are going through the same problems.
Some good online finance forum discussions can be found on:
Reddit.com
FICO Forum
Bankruptcy Forum
Debt Consolidation Care Forum
Also, you can start a discussion On Stack Exchange or Quora!

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