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Financial Topics & Tips

Be Safe When Shopping Online


To be safe when shopping online, you simply need to take precautions and use practical advice. By following these basic guidelines, you can shop online with confidence and have a safe and enjoyable experience:

• Look for the Lock.  Only provide private information to secure sites that have an “s” after the http (https://) – and look for a picture of a “lock” next to the https.

• Check to make sure the website provides clear and detailed contact information (street address, telephone number(s), fax, e-mail, etc.).  Scam websites often lack specific contact information.

• If you're unsure about a website, do a search to see if there are any consumer reviews or opinions about the website.

• If you're concerned about sharing your private information, consider using a payment service like PayPal that does not reveal your private information.

• If you buy online, always check your credit card statement to make sure everything is correct and that there are not any unwanted or unknown charges.

• Stick with popular and familiar websites that you trust.

• Check the company’s privacy policy to see how they will use your information.

• Never click on a random pop-up window. If you don’t know where it came from, close it! Pop-up windows can carry viruses.  If a website generates pop-up windows, you may even want to leave the website.

• Never send private information, such as a credit card number or a checking account number, in an e-mail.

• In the event of fraud or unwanted charges, it is often more difficult to get your money back if you pay with a debit card than if you pay with a credit card.  Under the Fair Credit and Billing Act, your liability for a lost or stolen credit card is only $50.

• Do not use an unsecured network or Internet connection to shop online.  Unsecured networks are typically found in public places such as a library or restaurant.

• You need to protect yourself against malware with regular updates to your anti-virus program.

Following these basic guidelines can help you have a safe online shopping experience.  At the end of the holiday season, review your financial statements and credit report. That will help you spot signs of fraud or identity theft.

Source:  Greenpath Debt Solutions (