Tips for International Students

Shopping Online in the U.S.: Tips for International Students

January 22, 2018
Shopping Online in the U.S.: Tips for International Students

Internet shopping is big business in the United States. From giant online companies such as to small “swap and shop” sites online, there are many ways to buy and sell items using the internet. Do you know how to shop online safely in the U.S.? Use our tips and you will be an online shopping pro.

Shopping Online in the U.S.: Tips for International Students

Popular online sites and stores is known as the “giant” of retail: the online store has everything you could possibly need, and with Amazon Prime, shipping is free. This can make shopping dangerous . . . for your bank account!

Students with an email that ends in .edu can get Amazon Prime at a 50% discount. Visit Amazon Prime Student for information.

Craigslist is a website where people can sell used items, post “help wanted” advertisements, adopt pets, and look for (or find) roommates or housing. The site also has forums where people can talk about anything from politics to dating. If you want to buy or sell something, you probably can on Craiglist!


Letgo is the smartphone version of Craigslist. It connects you with people in your area who are selling things you might want. This is often used by college students who are moving to a new place and need furniture; it is also used by students when they graduate and move. You can download Letgo for iPhone or Android.


OfferUp is another app that connects people buying and selling items in your neighborhood. Buyers can make an offer on the item and sellers can choose to accept the offer or negotiate. You can download OfferUp for iPhone or Android.


Safety tips for online shopping

Use sites that are familiar

A site like Amazon is secure; try to use these trusted sites and try to purchase from online stores that work directly through Amazon. This will ensure that you receive what you paid for, and it will also make returns easy if you are unhappy with your purchase.

Always meet in a public place

Most people are friendly, and in most cases, you are safe buying items from a stranger. But you can never be too careful! If you are going to buy something from a stranger, arrange to meet this person in a public place, such as the parking lot of a local grocery store.

Before meeting, tell this person that you will not bring cash with you to pay for the item: use a site like PayPal or VenMo to transfer them the money directly.

Bring a friend

Don’t go alone when meeting a stranger: bring a friend. This will make you feel more comfortable when negotiating with the stranger about the price of the item.

Pay using a trusted source

Always look for the green padlock next to the website address: this shows that you are using a secure site for online shopping.

Shopping Online in the U.S.: Tips for International Students

Do you see the green lock and the word “Secure” next to the address of the IEC@OCC website? This shows that the site is safe.

Try Amazon Pick Up for your packages

It doesn’t happen often, but people sometimes report that their packages are stolen from their front porch. Such a shame! If you know that you will be away from home the day that a package will arrive, you can always ask your neighbor to watch for your package. If your neighbor also won’t be home, consider using the “pick up” option from sites like Amazon. This allows you to pick up your purchase from a locker at a location near you.


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