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The Do's and Don'ts of Online Shopping

Learn what to do and what not to do when shopping online.


Protecting yourself when shopping online

What to do

  • Do your homework. Research any web site that you are unfamiliar with and want to buy items from. See if they have a 'Contact Us' page and do call them to check. If they aren't professional or something arouses suspicions, respond accordingly. If no physical address is provided, and there is only an email address, you will want to think long and hard about purchasing something. Consider all the pain-in-the-neck possibilities, if something should go wrong with your order.
  • Do pay by credit card. You are protected by the law and liable only for $50 if your credit-card number is stolen and used.
  • Do use a secure web site 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 check the site's privacy policy before you order.
  • Do purchase comprehensive computer security software like AT&T Internet Security Suite - powered by McAfee to protect you whenever and wherever you go online.

What not to do

  • Don't send cash. Pay by credit card because you're protected.
  • Don't send any financial information via email. It is not a safe method for communicating this sensitive information (credit-card or Social Security numbers).
  • 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 are 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 is a problem. * = Secure sites have a key or closed lock displayed in the web browser. Another way to know if a site is secure by the web address (URL) on the page begins with "https" instead of just "http." If you are at all unsure, then phone the company and provide your information that way.

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