Follow These Rules For Safe Online Shopping

Friday, December 7th 2007, 9:26 am
By: News On 6

Shopping online is now a multi-billion dollar business, but there are still people who are afraid to venture into e-commerce or aren't sure of the safest way to begin. The virtual world of the internet has met the real world of shopping. The main reason people venture online to make purchases is a biggie - convenience. A trip to the mall might take 30 to 45 minutes, while an Internet shopping trip can be finished in five.

News On 6 crime reporter Lori Fullbright reports on five things every e-shopper should know. E-shoppers should always use a credit card - not a debit card, e-check or money order to buy online. Credit card shoppers are protected by federal law. If someone gets your card and misuses it, you're only liable for the first $50. Even better is to have one credit card you use only for online purchases, so you spot problems faster and they're easier to resolve.

But fear exists, too, of getting cheated and of having your identity stolen. Shoppers can minimize their risk by following some safety precautions.

First, only shop online with stores you already know. They must list a physical address and at least one phone number. Make sure they have shipping and return policies you agree with.

Second, look for two items before ordering from any website: the site should say “https” in the top bar. The “s” is for secure. There should also be a padlock in the bottom right corner that is locked, not open.

Third, don’t click on links in unknown e-mails or fall for fake e-mails.

"We've all gotten an e-mail that says this is a bank, we've lost your account information, we really need you to go to our website and fill out your account information and password,” said David Greer of the University of Tulsa.

“No legitimate business will ever ask you to submit any information like that through e-mail."

Fourth, read the security policy completely. There's no use being careful with your information if the site is going to sell it to others or if they don't encrypt it once they receive it.

Fifth, be password smart. Don't use part of your name, birth date, mother's maiden name, or any commonly used or easily discovered information. Use different passwords for each website; don't have the site remember it, and don't share it with anyone.

“A good technique is to shop online, do research, find the item, the store you want to buy from - then give them a call," said David Greer.

Watch the video: Security Tips For Online Shopping