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Shopping Online? Here Is What To Watch Out For

Aug 17, 2007
Shopping from the convenience of your home can be an excellent experience. It can save you time and money, not to mention saving you standing in a queue for hours, or negotiating traffic. However, there are some risks involved, with identity theft being on top of the list. Here is how you can stay safe:

Do some research on the product you're buying; what does it usually cost? Where else can it be bought? Is it good quality? Do you perhaps know someone who bought such a product? Are there testimonials on the site of people who bought the product? Protect your privacy; be careful who you give your details to. For this reason do some research on the company you're buying from; are they reputable? What is the company's return policy? Know the person or people you are dealing with.

Understand your payment options. It might be a good idea to ask them to phone you to get your credit card number. Otherwise, make very sure the site is secure. You can see this by the little lock on the status bar at the bottom of your screen.

Keep a record of your purchase, electronically or in print. You never know what might happen. Your payment might get lost or suddenly became more. The item might get lost in the mail.

It might be an idea to get a credit card with a low limit just for online purchases. Read your statements carefully. This will simplify transactions and cancellations when the account is breached.

Then - beware of phishing; if you get email from sites that you shop at, make sure it is from them. Once they have any email address or password from you, they shouldn't need to ask for it again. When you simply have to click on it, make sure that you read the address in the address bar. If you shopped at ebay for example, the address in the address bar should start with: http://www.ebay.com and whatever goes after that. If the address in the address bar says something like: http://pages.account/ebay.com it is not the email address, even if it looks like it with all the correct logos and boxes and things.

Shopping online can be a great experience, or it can turn into a nightmare. Staying safe is up to you. Don't be gullible. Don't be greedy. Remember, when something sounds too good to be true, if probably is.
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