.: Safety Checklist for Online Shopping
Safety Checklist for Online Shopping

What can you do to make sure your money and privacy are protected?

Follow this simple steps bellow for improve your online shopping experience:

* Investigate the Seller
Anyone can sell things online, so it is a good habit to check out the online seller before you make a purchase. Make sure the Web site gives the business’ name, mailing address (more than a post office box) and telephone number. Are you familiar with the seller’s merchandise or services? Can you tell exactly what you’re getting based on the site’s description or pictures? Also, do you understand all costs (including price, shipping, and taxes), delivery time, warranty information, and the return policy? Make sure the site has clear information about what you can do if you have problems with your purchase.

* Check the Site’s Security
Only do business with companies that use secure server technology. This works with your Web browser to scramble your personal information—such as your credit card number— as it travels over the Internet. If the site is secure, the “http” in the address bar at the top of your screen will change to “https” or “shttp” at the page where you are asked to type in payment information. Always check for this before entering your information. Don’t buy online if the site isn’t secure.

* Read the Site's Privacy Policy
Understand how the seller will use your personal information. Many online stores will sell information about you to other companies. But, today, companies have to let you choose whether or not the company can share your information with others. Exercise your right to “opt out” if you don’t want the seller to pass to others information about you. If you don’t like the privacy policy, don’t deal with that retailer. A recent survey showed that 78 percent of people responding are “uncomfortable” to “extremely uncomfortable” with providing personal information to online merchants with no privacy policy or seal on their Web site. “Consumers are telling online retailers that if they want their business, they better assure them that their privacy is protected,” said Fran Maier. She is president and executive director of TRUSTe, the organization that conducted the survey with BizRate.

* Choose Your Password Carefully
If you use a password to log on to your computer, choose a different one to make a purchase. Also, use an unpredictable combination of numbers, letters and symbols. Do not give your password to anyone who contacts you, including people who claim to be employees of online services or stores. Never use part or all of your Social Security number as a password.

* Pay By Credit Card
Paying by credit card is the safest and quickest way to shop online. The federal Fair Credit Billing Act gives you the right to dispute credit card charges for goods or services that you never received, never ordered, or that were misrepresented to you. So, if you have a problem with your purchase, you may be able to withhold payment while your credit card company investigates the problem. Also, if a thief has used your credit card, you are usually responsible for only the first $50 in charges. For additional security, you can ask your credit card company about getting a “single-use” credit card number that allows you to buy online using a temporary card number.

* Keep a Record
Be sure to print and file a copy of your order and confirmation number in case you have a problem with your purchase. Keep a written record of shipping and handling costs as well as the amount of the item(s). By law, online businesses must deliver merchandise within 30 days of purchase or notify you if there will be a delay.

* Better Safe Than Sorry
In case you’re tempted to think that safety precautions aren’t all that important when you make purchases on the Internet, consider this: Consumers reported losses of more than $200 million dollars to Internet fraud in 2003. If you value your hard earned cash and your privacy, it pays for you to take safety precautions when you buy online.

* Complaint Resources

The following government agencies and private organization Web sites contain information on complaining about an online merchant:

Internet Fraud Complaint Center - http://www.internetfraud.usdoj.gov
National Fraud Information Center - http://www.fraud.org
Better Business Bureau - https://odr.bbb.org/odrweb/public/GetStarted.aspx

Kisuccess Publishing & Marketing
19350 Sherman Way #139, Reseda, CA - 91335

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