The internet and online shopping are perhaps the fastest growing areas of commercial spending we have ever seen. More and more of you buy gifts, insurance, groceries, and even homes through the internet. And why wouldn’t you? You have a world of products at your fingertips and you don’t have to deal with parking hassles, shopping crowds, and long queues.
However, along with this is a rise in internet fraud. To be a smart online shopper, you need to adhere to a few basic dos and don’ts when purchasing from websites to avoid becoming a victim of cyber-crime.
- Do your homework. Research any website you’re not familiar with and want to buy items from. See if they have a “Contact Us” page and call them to check. If something arouses suspicion, respond accordingly. If no physical address is provided, and there’s only an email address, think long and hard before purchasing something.
- Do pay by credit card. You should be protected by your card issuer if your credit-card number is stolen and used.
- Do use a secure website or simply pick up the phone and call the online store’s customer line for relaying sensitive data.
- Do keep copies of the sales transactions for future reference in case a dispute arises.
- Do check your credit-card statements to make sure you were charged the proper amount and that no “extras” were added.
- Do purchase comprehensive computer security software, such McAfee® Internet Security Suite, to protect you whenever and wherever you go online.
- Do make use of any additional security procedures your card issuer has – such as signing up to MasterCard SecureCode® or Verified by Visa.
- Don’t send cash. Pay by credit card because you’re protected.
- Don’t send any financial information via email. It’s not a safe method for communicating this sensitive information.
- Don’t forget to read the return policy and other terms of the deal before ordering.
- Don’t buy from a site you don’t feel absolutely comfortable with. If you sense something is just not right about the company you’re ordering from, then don’t make a deal.
- Don’t forget to inspect your new product as soon as it arrives. Notify the seller as soon as possible if there’s a problem.
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