WASHINGTON, Nov. 19, 2012 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ — Shopping online can be
easy and convenient, especially during the holiday season when stores are packed
with shoppers and it’s harder to find what you want. However, scammers are
always looking for ways to get your money or personal information, so it’s worth
taking a few moments to learn how you can protect yourself when shopping
Consider these tips:
How to Avoid Scams
Minimize risks by shopping at well-established
online stores with a good reputation. You can often learn a lot about the store
by looking at comments and feedback from other shoppers.
Also, when shopping online:
- Use credit cards instead of debit cards. Credit cards offer better
protection against unauthorized purchases, as you are typically only
responsible for $50 worth of unauthorized purchases, if that. Debit cards
generally don’t offer this level of protection.
- Calculate the total price of your purchase. Before clicking on
“buy,” make sure the price includes shipping and handling, insurance, taxes
and anything else that you expect from the purchase, such as discounts or
- Read the return policy. Returns are part of the experience of
shopping online, and each store has its own return and exchange policy. Some
might charge fees for restocking products or for resending merchandise. By
reading the return policies you will know what to expect.
- Avoid shopping in stores outside the United States. This can help
you avoid problems if you need to return or exchange items or resolve other
disputes. Online retailers in the U.S. are subject to U.S. consumer laws and
therefore offer protection to the buyer.
How to Protect Your Personal Information
Your personal information
can be as valuable as money to a scammer. Scammers can use personal information
like your credit card number or Social Security number to shop or steal your
identity. To protect your personal information:
- Shop at secure sites. When paying, make sure the website address
begins with https (the “s” at the end means it’s secure). It also means
the website encrypts the information it sends.
- Be careful when sharing your personal information. Don’t provide
your personal information in exchange for prizes or special offers. It might
be a trick to get you to give away sensitive information. Also, avoid sharing
your Social Security number and don’t send your personal information via
e-mail. It’s not safe.
- Be careful when using public Wi-Fi networks. The safest public
networks are those where you have to type in a password. Even so, you should
always use secure sites (with the address beginning with https) when
- Monitor your statements. Read your monthly statements to make sure
there are no unauthorized purchases on your bank or credit cards. If you find
unauthorized charges, contact your bank or financial institution as soon as