Internet Consumer Guide: Tips On Safe Online Shopping

Shopping on the internet is becoming more popular. Tips on how to protect yourself while shopping on the Internet.

Shopping on the Internet is becoming more and more popular. Is it safe? Can your credit card number get hacked and used by someone else? This article will give tips on how to protect yourself while shopping on the Internet.

Experts are assuring us that Internet shopping with a credit card is just as safe as shopping in the "real world" with a credit card. However, there are new rules to follow to keep your credit card safe that you should follow along with the old rules.

Make sure you know the site or the person you are doing business with on the Internet well enough to trust that your card information will be safe. For example, if you were walking down the street and a person in a trench coat called you over to show you some nice watches for sale in the lining of his coat, would you hand him your credit card? No, you wouldn't. The Internet can be like this. You could be dealing with a guy in a trench coat. Since you can't see who you are dealing with in person when shopping on the Internet you will need to be extra cautious with the sites you are doing business with.

Visit the site several times and navigate around to get to know it. Check back a few times over the next couple of weeks to make sure it doesn't disappear. Make sure they use a secure transmission for you to leave your personal information so that it isn't open for the entire web to view. Look for policies that say they do not sell your information to other companies. Usually they do not sell credit card numbers, but selling addresses and email address is common.

If you decide to do business with them, never store your credit card number on the site. Most of the big sites and some of the little sites allow you to select a user name and password so that you can enter the site and get access to your account. You can get your account history, a list of things you have previously bought, and store stuff in your

shopping cart. The site will keep your name, address and credit card number stored for you so that the next time you shop it will be easier. This is not a good idea because hackers are good at guessing passwords and user names and they can easily hack into your account and get your information. After all, you wouldn't leave your credit card on the counter at a department store so don't leave it on the Internet.

When doing business with people at on-line auctions make sure the site has a reputable way to read previous customer complaints about the seller before you buy from them. If you decide to do business with them it is a good idea not to use a credit card number or even a check with them.

There have been a lot of people sending money and then never receiving the product at auctions. Joe-blow takes your money and runs. A safe way to do business at auctions is by online bank accounts. You can open an on-line bank account and transfer the money via e-mail addresses. Most of these on-line banks have already done a check to see if the seller is legitimate and some will even guarantee that you get your product.

Just like you would for "real world" shopping, know the return and refund policies for the sites on the Internet that you shop at. Make sure you are able to return items if you don't like them or if they are broken. Most sites will take back broken or non-working items, but most of the time you must pay for return postage. Some sites will not only charge the return postage, but also deduct a restocking fee from your refund if you didn't have a "good" reason to return the item. Good reasons to them (the store) are broken or damaged products, a good reason to you would be that you don't like the product.

If a site's prices seem very low they might be too good to be true. Sites will use freeware and other free downloadable products to get you to their site. When you are there you may feel obligated to do business with them. But, you do not have to. If prices are low on products it could be a company that is just starting out and are having great deals to get the business going. Keep in mind that their staff may be small and your product may be slow getting to you. The wait may be worth it.

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