Shopping online offers lots of benefits that you
won't find shopping in a store or by mail. For example, the Internet
is always open - seven days a week, 24 hours a day. And, bargains can
be numerous online. Shopping on the Internet is no less safe than
shopping in a store or by mail. Keep the following tips in mind to
help ensure that your online shopping experience is a safe one.
Use a secure browser.
This is the software you use to navigate the Internet. Your browser
should comply with industry security standards, such as Secure Sockets
Layer (SSL). These standards scramble the purchase information you
send over the Internet, helping to secure your transaction. Most
computers come with a browser installed. You also can download some
browsers for free over the Internet.
Shop with companies you know.
Anyone can set up shop online under almost any name. If you're not
familiar with a merchant, ask for a paper catalog or brochure to get a
better idea of their merchandise and services. Also, determine the
company's refund and return policies before you place your order.
These should be posted on the company's Web site.
Keep your password(s) private.
Be creative when you establish a password, and never give it to
anyone. Avoid using a telephone number, birth date, or a portion of
your Social Security number. Instead, use a combination of numbers,
letters, and symbols.
Pay by credit or charge card.
If you pay by credit or charge card online, your transaction will be
protected by the Fair Credit Billing Act. Under this law, consumers
have the right to dispute charges under certain circumstances and
temporarily withhold payment while the creditor is investigating them.
In the event of unauthorized use of your credit or charge card, you
are generally held liable only for the first $50 in charges. Some
companies offer an online shopping guarantee that ensures you will not
be held responsible for any unauthorized charges made online, and some
cards may provide additional warranty, return and/or purchase
Keep a record.
Be sure to print a copy of your purchase order and confirmation number
for your records. Also, you should know that the Federal
Mail/Telephone Order Merchandise Rule covers online orders. This means
that unless stated otherwise, merchandise must be delivered within 30
days; and if there are delays, the company must notify you.