Just as shopping on the Internet has grown the past few years, so have the opportunities for the bad guys to do MAJOR damage to an online shopper. Just as there are muggers, thieves and pickpockets in the malls, so there are online thieves and muggers on the internet, just waiting to “pick your pocket” and grab your identity. However, technology has come to the rescue to “save the day.”

If you are concerned (and well you should be) about the safety of your identity or credit information when you shop online, you are smart to shop only at those sites that you know and trust, those that are committed to safeguarding your information when you shop online.

What Can You Do?:

  • Be sure the site is secure by checking the address line in your browser. Look for the “https“- the “S” indicates that you are at a secure, encrypted check-out site.
  • Use a credit card instead of a debit card or online check, if possible. That way you have better recourse.
  • If you receive an email or telephone call that there is a question about your payment, contact the retailer at the telephone number or email address provided on their website under “Contact us” in order to find out if there really was an issue.
  • An online store will not normally ask you to “Verify” your payment source or bank account once you leave the site. If there is a question about your payment, they will simply cancel or suspend the order, inform you of what they did and why, then give you specific information as to what you should do next. It almost always involves going back to the website.

Other Safeguards

There are several more ways you can protect yourself and your payment information when you shop online. Here are a few that we use.

  • Many online retailers have the option of paying through PayPal. At PayPal you can choose your funding options — credit card, debit card or online check. Or you can send money to your account to set up a credit balance. You can open your account at PayPal.com.
  • Shop only at major stores and/or online shopping malls. If you are unsure of the store, see if it central-bazaar is part of a “shopping portal” — another name for an online shopping mall. Most reputable shopping portals check out the merchants and verify that their online stores use a secure payment system, or “shopping cart,” before allowing them to become part of their portal.
  • NEVER allow the store to “remember” your payment information. Yes, it’s a hassle pulling out your card every time, but it’s worth your peace of mind.
  • Be sure to print out the web page and all confirmations and documentation associated with your order.
  • Just as you would do when shopping in a brick and mortar store, be sure that you understand the store’s return policy to avoid any “legitimate” loss of money. If you find you must return an item, first find out if you can just go to the retailer’s local brick and mortar store. If not, be sure that you fill out and pay for a “proof of delivery” from the Post Office. It’s less that a dollar, and is well worth it.
  • If you are shopping for services or booking travel online, we still give you the same caveats. Payment information is not to be stored on the Internet anywhere.Make Online Shopping More Fun

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