The Safest (and Most Dangerous) Places to Shop Online

| + More Articles
  • Like on Facebook
  • Share on Google+
  • Share on LinkedIn
Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/roadsidepictures/

Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/roadsidepictures/

After the Target (NYSE:TGT) data breach, approximately one-third of the U.S. population is now aware that their financial information isn’t as secure as they had previously thought. Some consumers have switched from a debit card to a credit card as a result of this event. This is a wise decision, since fraudulent charges on a debit card can cost you up to $500 — and that’s only if you catch the fraudulent charge within a reasonable time frame.

This time frame will depend on your financial institution. Fortunately, if your account was recently compromised due to the Target data breach and you notice fraudulent charges, Target will cover it. That’s good news for you, and bad news for Target. More on this soon. If you use a credit card at any retailer, then the maximum cost to you will be $50. This is a lot more comforting than $500. For this reason, more people are now using credit cards, and others are using cash. Of course, some consumers have moved their shopping online. Shopping online might make you feel safer, but that should only be the case if you’re shopping at the safest online locations.

Five Safest Places to Shop Online

According to Dashline — a password solution provider — when you shop at the following online retailers, you should feel at ease about your online transactions: Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), Newegg (online retailer of computer hardware and software), Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), Chegg (specializes in online textbook rentals, homework help, and scholarships), and Target. Apple and Microsoft shouldn’t surprise you. Technological giants such as these are going to be savvier than most online retailers when it comes to online fraud protection. Target might surprise you given recent events, but Target can hardly afford another data breach.

Following Target’s data breach, it now expects Q4 domestic same-store sales to decline 2.5 percent after a previous expectation of flat. Target is also taking a hit on the chin with rising costs, investing $5 million in cyber security, having to contend with lawsuits, and paying for more employees due to rising call volume. Ironically, Target might be one of the safest places to shop right now. However, it’s still going to take the company time to rebuild trust with its customers.

Five Most Dangerous Places to Shop Online

Also according to Dashline, when you shop at the following online retailers, you’re putting yourself more at risk: MLB (Major League Baseball), Karmaloop (streetwear clothing), Dick’s Sporting Goods, Toys R Us, and Aeropostale (NYSE:ARO).

This is the last thing Aeropostale needs. The teen retailers are facing arduous times, primarily due to fierce competition and a highly promotional environment. Part of the reason for these trends is that teens don’t have as much discretionary income as in the past, and whatever discretionary income they possess is more likely to go toward technology than apparel. Furthermore, urban attire is more on-trend than what Aerpostale sells. Aeropostale has suffered a 5.24 percent revenue decline over the past year. When you combine that with its appearance on this list, you might want to avoid it for investment consideration right now.

Scary Stats

Dashline recently released several alarming stats, which are based on a study of 100 online retailers and their password protection policies.

  • How many online retailers accept weak passwords (i.e. ‘123456’): 55 percent.
  • How many online retailers don’t attempt to block entry after 10 incorrect login attempts: 51 percent. This includes Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), Dell, Best Buy (NYSE:BBY), Macy’s (NYSE:M), and Williams-Sonoma (NYSE:WSM).
  • How many online retailers provide information on how to strengthen your password: 39 percent.
  • How many online retailers assess the strength of your password: 7 percent.

Advantage: Hackers.

Conclusion

If you’re reading this article for shopping purposes, then you should feel at east shopping at Apple, Newegg, Microsoft, Chegg, and Target. If you’re reading this article for investing purposes, then you might want to dig deeper with Apple and Microsoft. As far as Target is concerned, it’s likely to be a long-term winner, and it’s in the process of doing everything it can to improve its technology in order to protect its customers. These are the correct moves, but nobody knows the real costs of the data breach yet.

More From Wall St. Cheat Sheet:

More Articles About:

To contact the reporter on this story: staff.writers@wallstcheatsheet.com To contact the editor responsible for this story: editors@wallstcheatsheet.com

Yahoo Finance, Harvard Business Review, Market Watch, The Wall St. Journal, Financial Times, CNN Money, Fox Business