Tips for Safe Online Shopping

The convenience of shopping online is alluring. You can shop from the comfort of your home and receive your new goods without setting foot in a store. When you shop online, though, you have to be more aware of thieves and fraudsters who’d like nothing more than to get their hands on your credit card information.

Fraudsters can get access to your personal information online by setting up fake stores, which can look amazingly similar to the real thing. They may even go so far as to confirm your order and send email confirmation. However, it’s only when you don’t receive the merchandise you paid for that you realize you may have been a victim of an online shopping scam.

If you shop online you have to be careful; otherwise, could find yourself dealing with hundreds of fraud charges.

Shop at retailers you know and trust

A fraudster can set up a fake website easier than you think. You can avoid being tricked by a fake website by shopping at online stores that you’ve never heard of. Always make sure you’re at the store’s real website and not a spoof. Legitimate websites will have About Us and Privacy Policy pages. You might even use the Yellow Pages to find a 1-800 number that you can call to confirm the company’s correct web address.

Check for encryption

Look for signs of encryption on the page that you enter your payment information. Encryption ensures your exact name and credit card details aren’t transferred over the internet. It keeps hackers who might intercept the information from getting your specific information. You can recognize an encrypted web page by checking for “https://” (vs. just “http://”) at the front of the URL.

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Trust your instinct

If you’re at a website that doesn’t look completely legitimate, go somewhere else. Sites that have bad grammar, spelling mistakes, bad design, and lots of ads are usually scams. Never enter your personal information in a website you don’t completely trust.

Use your credit card

When it comes to shopping online, using your credit card is safer than using a debit card or check card. If a thief gets access to your check card information, he can drain your checking account leaving you penniless until the bank sorts through the fraud. Not only that, Federal laws regarding checking account and debit card fraud aren’t as generous as they are with credit cards.

Dealing with fraudulent charges

Fortunately, the Fair Credit Billing Act (a Federal law) gives you the right to dispute fraudulent credit card charges. You can use our guide to correcting billing errors for information on clearing up fraudulent charges. In many cases, you won’t be responsible for any of the charges, but in the worst case, you’ll only be responsible a maximum of $50.

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