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Covid-19 (known as “the coronavirus”) has changed the way we do everything. More restaurants are delivering food than ever before. ‘Going to church’ often involves turning on the television or the computer instead of driving down the street. And online shopping has seen more and more new shoppers. From grocery stores to Amazon, there is no better way to socially distance than to stay at home! With the crowds of the holiday shopping season approaching, now is a good time to get started making purchases safely.

If you’re reading this article online, it is assumed you have some basic computer skills. But there are many ways to improve your knowledge of the Internet and using email. Libraries, colleges, community and senior centers, are just a few of the places that offer computer classes specifically geared towards seniors. If you are concerned about going out or being in public more than necessary, there are online classes available also.

  • Getting Started – To make purchases on the Internet, you will need some things you probably already have:
    • A computer, tablet, or smartphone to access the Internet
    • An email address
    • A mailing address
    • A credit card
    • A notebook
  • Start Simple – Your first online purchase should be from a vendor or store you are familiar with, preferably a large national chain. Today all of the national retail vendors have online shopping set up. Moreover, a large vendor will likely have a streamlined online system that is easier to navigate and to set up your account with than a small online store.
  • Create An Account – Unlike shopping in an actual store, online stores and websites require you to create an account. This helps them store your information, keep it separate from others, and know that you are YOU when you are making a purchase.
    • On the store’s webpage, click on the spot at the top of the page that says something like, “Sign-In” or “Log-In”. It may also be a shape that looks like the silhouette of the head and shoulders of a person.
    • Most of this page will be where people who already have an account go to sign-in and begin shopping. But also on this page should be a place to click and go to that says “Create An Account” or something similar. That is where you will set up your account with the vendor.
    • Creating your account involves giving your information to the store. This includes:
      • Full Name
      • Mailing and Billing Addresses (address on your credit card)
      • Email Address
      • Credit Card Information

It is suggested you use a credit card instead of a bank card. Credit cards offer more protection from you and your purchases.

Next month, we will talk about security, creating passwords, shopping and carts, and checking out with your purchases. Just in time for Christmas!