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When shopping online there are several things you can do to add to your shopping safety. Being aware of technology scams, checking website policies and understanding your credit card rights, will go a long way in providing personal protection. Some shopping websites will provide cost comparisons, assisting you in finding the lowest price for your request. Be aware, there have been reports of a few sites “fixing” their technology and returning incorrect results. Once while shopping you have decided where you want to make your purchase, go through that shopping website and look for policies defining warranties, refunds, returns, legal statements and privacy policies. Warranties, where provided, will tell you what is covered and for what time period.

Where possible on a shopping website, use a secure online payment service like PayPal or WorldPay.Use credit cards rather than debit cards.Don't keep your personal or financial information (including account passwords) on your computer. Use removable storage (like a USB stick). When submitting information online on a shopping site, make sure there is a "lock" icon on the browser's status bar (and that it is"locked"). Keep your operating system, anti-virus, anti-spyware and firewall software up to date.
Use anti-virus software and/or firewalls on every computer you own/use.

Anyone can sell shopping things online, so it is a good habit to check out the online shopping seller before you make a purchase. Make sure the shopping Web site gives the business' name, mailing address (more than a post office box) and telephone number. You need to know how to reach the seller so if you can't find a working phone number, go somewhere else. Type the shopping site's name into a search engine. If you find unfavorable reviews, you may be better off doing business with some other shopping site. 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 shopping site has clear information about what you can do if you have problems with your NEW purchase.

Check for expected delivery dates, shipping and handling fees, warranties, return policies, and other important information. Look for an email address to write to (or a phone number to call) if you have a question, a problem, or if you need help. Know what shopping information the merchant is collecting about you, how it will be used, and if they share it with or sell it to others.
It's a good practice to be familiar with the name or reputation of any shopping company you're dealing with. You can often find helpful information about online companies from Internet news sources, directories, and rating services. The Federal Trade Commission maintains a web site (www.consumer.gov) that provides many buyer's guides, lists of tips, and links to helpful shopping resources.

Trust your instincts. If you don't feel comfortable buying or bidding on an item over the shopping website, or if you feel pressured to place your order immediately, maybe you shouldn't. Be knowledgeable about web-based auctions and shopping sites. Take special care to familiarize yourself not only with the rules and policies of the auction and shopping site itself but with the legal terms (warranties, refund policy, etc.) of the seller's items that you wish to bid on. Insure the safe delivery of your item. If you're concerned you may not be home when your package is delivered and that someone may take it if it is left on the doorstep, ask whether you can specify that the shipper must receive a signature before leaving the package. Or, it may be safer to have the package delivered to your office. See Delivery. Inspect your purchase. Look at your purchase carefully as soon as you receive it. Contact the seller as soon as possible if you discover a problem with it. Tell the seller in writing about any problems you have, ask for a repair or refund, and keep a copy of your correspondence. See Legal Terms.

First, you have to look at the address bar of your browser and see what the address of the page where you enter your personal and credit card information looks like. If the shopping address begins with https: (s for secure) instead of http:, then this page is using SSL. Note that only the page(s) where you actually enter your personal and credit card information need to be protected with SSL. All other pages on the shopping Web site in most cases don’t use SSL because they don’t need to.Once you get to the shopping site, the Web address begins with https: ("s" for secure), and the locked padlock at the bottom of the window confirms the shopping site has increased security. You can rest your mouse pointer on the lock to see the level of encryption.

Protect your private information. When shopping online, look for the retailer’s Web site privacy policy and never provide your Social Security number, birth date, or mother's maiden name. Ensure your computer has the latest anti-virus software installed before shopping online. Always print and save the confirmation page when completing an online purchase.Don't wait for paper statements, Check your credit card and bank statements for suspicious activity by either calling your bank or visiting your financial institution’s Web site. Shop only at Internet merchants you know and trust; if in doubt check with the Better Business Bureau.Beware of emails offering cut-rate prices on popular toys, software or other gifts; if the offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.If you receive an unsolicited email from an Internet merchant, don't click on the links within it. Instead, locate the merchant's Web site address through a reputable search engine.

Don't fall victim to scare tactics (or urgency). "Phish" emails will often attempt to hook someone by stating that there is a problem with their account information or with their order. If you have any questions about an email you have received, pick up the phone and call your financial institution. DO NOT use the phone number included in the email itself - look up the number in the phone book or on your statement to get the correct number.Be suspicious of any email that asks you for personal financial information. Legitimate companies generally will not ask for this information via email unless solicited to do so by you. The same holds true for any email purporting to be from a foreign dignitary or promising wealth if you act quickly.

Make sure your browser is set to the highest level of security notification and monitoring.
The safety options are not always activated by default when you install your computer. The most popular browsers include Microsoft Internet Explorer, Firefox and Opera. Check that you're using a recent version – you can usually download the latest version from these browsers' websites. Always check your statements. Check statements as soon as you receive them. If you find a transaction on your statement that you did not make, contact your bank or card company immediately. Tear up, or preferably shred, any documents that contain information relating to your financial affairs. Consider using an Internet-only card.If you regularly make transactions over the Internet consider opening a separate credit card account specifically for these transactions. This would enable you to monitor transactions at a glance and credit cards offer additional consumer protection should anything go wrong.
 

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