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Here Are the Best Online Shopping Tips for Seniors

Senior woman making online purchase

Every year, the number of seniors shopping online grows dramatically. Why? It’s simple — convenience, savings and access to millions of products and services offered locally and from around the world. This trend is only going to grow as seniors become more comfortable with computers, tablets, smartphones and the Internet.

However, many seniors still find online shopping to be intimidating and have concerns about scammers and keeping their data safe. But there are simple solutions that can help make online shopping for seniors safer and a better overall experience.

Benefits for Seniors Shopping Online

From finding great deals and saving money to the ease of online grocery shopping, for seniors, the advantages are significant, and include:

Convenience – Leave behind crowded stores and long lines. With online shopping, you can shop at leisure anytime day or night from the comfort and safety of your home. Better yet, whatever you order is delivered to your door, which is great for bulky items like a 50 lb. bag of dog food.

Save Time – You’ll no longer have to drive to the store, let alone from store-to-store in search of what you’re looking for. No more traffic. No more crowded parking lots.

Save Money – Online shopping is a great way to bargain hunt because you can visit several stores in just minutes. Prices online are often lower, too. Websites like RetailMeNot.com offer valuable coupons to thousands of stores. Many e-commerce stores also offer senior discounts for online shopping.

Comparison Shop – Along with comparing prices, seniors online shopping can quickly compare colors, sizes, varieties and quality in a matter of minutes. Simply type what you’re looking for in the search bar of your Internet browser and you’ll be amazed at the number of choices you’ll find.

Customer Reviews – Online reviews are a valuable tool to see what people are saying about the product and service. They’re also a good way to determine if a company is trustworthy.

Hard to Find Items – Online shopping for seniors lets you find items you want but aren’t sold in your area. Remember that salsa you loved from that small boutique in Arizona? Chances are you can buy it online!

Groceries – Stores such as Walmart or Publix make online grocery shopping for seniors fast and easy. Simply fill out your shopping list online and they’ll have your groceries ready for pick up or deliver them to your door. You can even save your shopping list online for convenience sake. The only downside is you don’t get to thump the cantaloupes.

Personal Shoppers for Seniors – There are several online services where you can hire a personal shopper, usually at an hourly rate, to shop or run errands for you. Care.com is a good place to start your search for your trustworthy shopper.

Dos and Don’ts to Manage Your Security Online

Keeping your data safe is of the utmost importance. Everyone needs to practice good online habits to protect themselves from fraud and identity theft. Here are some basic security tips that’ll help.

Create Secure Passwords

Your password is your first line of defense against cybercriminals. That’s why you should never use your birthday, name, initials or street address even if it makes remembering your password easy. And never use “password” or “123456”. Instead, try these methods:

  • Make it Strong. A password that’s difficult to break is at least eight characters long and uses a combination of upper and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols such as #%@*(+). Spread them out, too, instead of bunching them together.
  • Make It Unique to You. Try creating a password that only you would now, such as a phobia like “&iH8teSpyders!”
  • Use Different Passwords for Different Accounts. Using the same password for all of your online accounts gives cyberthiefs access to them all.
  • Change Your Passwords Regularly. Changing your password every few months makes it harder to remember, but it keeps the hackers guessing. Also, anytime you hear of a data breach or suspect suspicious activity, change your password immediately.

Pay With a Credit Card – Debit cards and credit cards are relatively safe for online shopping. However, most credit cards offer fraud protection. Most debit cards don’t.

Make Sure the Website is Secure – Only enter your payment information if the website’s address starts with https://. The “s” stands for secure.

Avoid Using Public WiFi Networks – Only buy online when using your home WiFi .  Free wireless on public networks at places like coffee shops and airports can be breached by cybertheives.

Don’t Shop on Public Computers – Using a public computer somewhere such as a library or hotel isn’t a good idea. You could forget to log out of your account and the next user will have access.

Never Give Out Your Social Security Number – You’ll never need to supply your SSN for simple online purchases. If a seller asks, it could be a scam.

Keep Your Computer Or Tablet Up to Date – Whether it’s a Mac or PC, your information is safer when you keep your operating system up to date.

Check Your Statements –Take a look at your credit card and bank statements every month for any unauthorized purchases.

Get Friendly With Technology

Online shopping for seniors can be frustrating. It just takes a little patience and persistence. An easy way to raise your comfort level is by asking a friend or family member for help. Do you have a teenage grandchild? They could probably show you the ropes in no time!If you’d prefer more formal training, your public library may offer free computer classes. There are also online resources, such as AARP TEK Workshops and Senior.net that can help.

Independent senior living communities can also be a great resource. Lake Port Square in Leesburg, Florida offers an on-campus computer center that can help you become technology savvy in no time. Lake Port Square provides a whole host of first-class amenities designed to make your life easier and more enjoyable. Learn more about the vibrant, independent lifestyle at Lake Port Square now.