Holiday Online Shopping Tips
Online shopping for the holidays?
- Compare prices. Similar items typically fall into a general price range. Scammers try to entice victims to their websites with ridiculously low prices. Remember to account for shipping and handling in the cost of on-line purchases.
- Shop from a trusted source; Research the seller. Anyone can set up shop online. Confirm the online seller's physical address and phone number in case you have any problems or questions. If you were emailed a retail coupon code or special promotion, confirm the terms directly with the retail source.
- Keep your anti-virus software up-to-date. Make sure you have installed the latest firewall and anti-virus software to protect your computer against online attacks.
- Enter financial information only on secure sites. Do not e-mail financial information, like your credit card or checking account number. If you initiate a purchase on-line, look for indicators that the site is secure. Although no indicator is fool-proof, look for a lock icon on the browsers status bar, or a URL address that includes an "s" after the http.
- Don't save your credit card or account information to the seller's site. While this may be seen as a convenience for returning customers, you never know who could access the website or your computer looking for account information.
- Don't send cash or wire money for payment. Do not wire money via Western Union or Money Gram for items purchased on-line; you may be giving your money to scammers and you may never get the item you "ordered." Pay by credit card.
- Keep a paper trail. Print and save records of all your on-line transactions; including the product description, price, on-line receipt and emails.
- Read the fine print; Review the refund policy and delivery rates. Look to see if you can return a product for a full refund if you are not satisfied. Check out who pays for the cost of shipping a returned item and whether or not there are any fees for returning items.